Brotherhood : Nothing More Than A Label

891 Words Nov 10th, 2014 4 Pages
Brotherhood: Nothing More Than A Label

A major aspect of the black power movement in the 20th century was the emergence of civil rights groups such as the black communist party. Most civil rights groups in the North consisted of black and white members. In Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, he portrayed the corruption concealed in such groups through the narrator’s involvement in the Brotherhood. The narrator was appointed as the spokesman for a black communist coalition in Harlem. His experience in the Brotherhood causes him to be alienated from black society as well as the adoption of a restrictive, yet deceptive ideology.

The narrator experienced an ironic alienation from the black community of Harlem in the beginning and during his time with the Brotherhood. He was told immediately after he joined that he must leave Harlem and move into the downtown area of New York City. Another unusual instruction was to avoid all contact with anyone outside of the Brotherhood, including family members, “…Our discipline demands therefore that we talk to no one and that we avoid situations in which information might be given away unwittingly. So you must put aside your past,” (309). The irony expressed by Ellison is that while the Brotherhood’s incentive was to fight for black equality, they detached the narrator from his roots. They especially detached him from his connections to the black metropolis, which was where the bulk of their support originated. The suggestion for the…
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