When I first saw him read, I was never so surprised in my life, as when I saw the book talk to my master, for I thought it did, as I observed him to look upon it, and move his lips. I followed him to the place where he put the book, being mightily delighted with it, and when nobody saw me, I opened it, and put my ear close down to it, in great hopes that it would say something to me...
...but I was very sorry, and greatly disappointed, when I found that it would not speak. This thought immediately presented itself to me, that every body and every thing despised me because I was black.
--- Henry Louis Gates Jr.
The Trope of the Talking Book,
As quoted in Sex Objects
(University of Minnesota Press)