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Faithful Account of the Race

African American Historical Writing in Nineteenth-Century America

Stephen G. Hall

Publication Year: 2009

The civil rights and black power movements expanded popular awareness of the history and culture of African Americans. But, as Stephen Hall observes, African American authors, intellectuals, ministers, and abolitionists had been writing the history of the black experience since the 1800s. With this book, Hall recaptures and reconstructs a rich but largely overlooked tradition of historical writing by African Americans.

Published by: The University of North Carolina Press

Series: John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Culture


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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. ix-xviii

IN THE LONG COURSE OF WRITING A BOOK, one incurs many debts, which are, in many cases, life altering. My undergraduate years at Morgan State University in Baltimore proved foundational for the types of interests and scholarly work I have pursued since graduating from the institution...

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pp. 1-16

NOT TEN YEARS AFTER the end of the Civil War and two years before the formal collapse of Reconstruction, William Wells Brown, fugitive slave and abolitionist, authored one of the earliest race histories of the postbellum period...

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1. TROUBLING THE PAGES OF HISTORIANS: African American Intellectuals and Historical Writing in the Early Republic, 1817–1837

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pp. 17-48

THE ERA OF THE EARLY REPUBLIC WAS, without a doubt, a hopeful and promising moment in American history. Not only had the country expanded demographically and spatially after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, it abolished the Atlantic slave trade in 1808 and successfully...

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2. TO PRESENT A JUST VIEW OF OUR ORIGIN: Creating an African American Historical Discourse, 1837–1850

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pp. 49-85

JAMES W. C. PENNINGTON AND NOAH WEBSTER represent two distinct understandings of black history during the antebellum period. Pennington, in ways similar to earlier black intellectuals, called for a serious interrogation of black origins that transcended the narrow confines of the American present. Noah Webster, convinced of the idea...

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3. THE DESTINY OF THE COLORED PEOPLE: African American History between Compromise and Jubilee, 1850–1863

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pp. 86-122

INCREASING CONTROVERSY over the place of black people in American life marked discussions of the 1840s. During that decade, the debate between proslavery and free-soil advocates heated up, with Free-Soilers not necessarily opposing slavery but simply its expansion...

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4. THE HISTORICAL MIND OF EMANCIPATION: Writing African American History at the Dawn of Freedom, 1863–1882

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pp. 123-150

BETWEEN 1863, which marked the passage of the Emancipation Proclamation, the publication of William Wells Brown’s The Black Man, and the decisive Union victory at Gettysburg, and 1882, the year of the publication of Joseph Wilson’s Emancipation: Its Course and Progress, there occurred a decisive shift in the style and content...

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5. ADVANCEMENT IN NUMBERS, KNOWLEDGE, AND POWER: African American History in Post-Reconstruction America, 1883–1915

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pp. 151-187

THE 1880S MARKED a complete break with antebellum modes of historical discourse. First, the post-Reconstruction period witnessed the intellectual maturation of several constituencies in the African American community. Although ministers, journalists, and educators...

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6. TO SMITE THE ROCK OF KNOWLEDGE: The Black Academy and the Professionalization of History

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pp. 188-226

BY THE TURN OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY, two important efforts began to come together to allow an important shift in the production and promotion of African American history. First, black intellectuals of all stripes had over the previous century produced volumes of black history. Recalling the presence of black people in the Bible and ancient history...

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pp. 227-234

AS A HISTORIAN INTERESTED IN HISTORIOGRAPHY, I constantly look for ways to interject into conversations some discussion of the origins and evolution of African American history as a discipline. Most often, however, conversations of this type occur in class or among colleagues and friends. Despite an outpouring of pathbreaking work in African...


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pp. 235-290


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pp. 291-326


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pp. 327-334

E-ISBN-13: 9781469605364
E-ISBN-10: 1469605368
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807833056
Print-ISBN-10: 0807833053

Page Count: 352
Illustrations: 2 line drawings, 1 map
Publication Year: 2009

Series Title: John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Culture
Series Editor Byline: Series Editors: Waldo E. Martin Jr., University of California, Berkeley, and Patricia Sullivan, University of South Carolina See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 500622258
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Faithful Account of the Race

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Subject Headings

  • African Americans -- Historiography.
  • Historiography -- United States -- History -- 19th century.
  • African Americans -- Intellectual life -- 19th century.
  • African American historians -- History -- 19th century.
  • African American intellectuals -- History -- 19th century.
  • African diaspora -- History -- 19th century.
  • United States -- Intellectual life -- 19th century.
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