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Unexpected Places

Relocating Nineteenth-Century African American Literature

Eric Gardner

Publication Year: 2009

Winner 2010 Outstanding Academic Title ChoiceWinner 2010 EBSCOhost / Research Society for American Periodicals Book PrizeHonorable Mention 2010 Thomas J. Lyon Book Award, Western Literature AssociationIn January of 1861, on the eve of both the Civil War and the rebirth of the African Methodist Episcopal Church's Christian Recorder, John Mifflin Brown wrote to the paper praising its editor Elisha Weaver: "It takes our Western boys to lead off. I amproud of your paper."Weaver's story, though, like many of the contributions of early black literature outside of the urban Northeast, has almost vanished. Unexpected Places: Relocating Nineteenth-Century African American Literature recovers the work of early African American authors and editors such as Weaver who have been left off maps drawn by historians and literary critics. Individual chapters restore to consideration black literary locations in antebellum St. Louis, antebellum Indiana, Reconstruction-era San Francisco, and several sites tied to the Philadelphia-based Recorder during and after the Civil War.In conversation with both archival sources and contemporary scholarship, Unexpected Places calls for a large-scale rethinking of the nineteenth-century African American literary landscape. In addition to revisiting such better-known writers as William Wells Brown, Maria Stewart, and Hannah Crafts, Unexpected Places offers the first critical considerations of important figures including William Jay Greenly, Jennie Carter, Polly Wash, and Lizzie Hart. The book's discussion of physical locations leads naturally to careful study of how region is tied to genre, authorship, publication circumstances, the black press, domestic and nascent black nationalist ideologies, and black mobility in the nineteenth century.

Published by: University Press of Mississippi

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pp. 8-9

Chapter 1: Gateways and Borders: Black St. Louis in the 1840s and 1850sChapter 2: Frontiers and Domestic Centers: Black Indiana, 1857–1862Chapter 3: Th e Black West: Northern California and Beyond, 1865–1877Chapter 4: Beyond Philadelphia: Th e Reach of the Recorder, 1865–1880...

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pp. 10-13

The completion of this book owes a great deal to my friends at Saginaw Valley State University. A Ruth and Ted Braun Research Fellowship, vided both much-needed time and key resources. Vice President Donald Bachand and Dean Mary Hedberg have been consistently supportive of my work. Colleagues and students have listened to some of the arguments here, shared some of the joys of discovery, and always commented thoughtfully; ...

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INTRODUCTION: Duty and Daily Bread

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pp. 14-32

On 11 December 1856, David Lewis rose to address sixty fellow African Americans: “I am a friend to this [news]paper, and go for supporting it; the changes we are seeking . . . for the sake of the common security of life and property must be eff ected through it, and as a result of an altered public sentiment; to produce this latter, we greatly need a paper; it seems, then, my duty to support the paper, as to labor for my daily bread” (Foner 155)....

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CHAPTER 1: Gateways and Borders: Black St. Louis in the 1840s and 1850s

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pp. 33-66

There was no shortage of discussion of St. Louis vis-à-vis slavery, race, and American values in the decades before the Civil War. In many ways, it was an “expected place” for a very specifi c kind of black story: “Th ough slavery is thought, by some, to be mild in Missouri when com-pared with the cotton, sugar and rice growing States,” William Wells Brown wrote in his 1847 Narrative, “no part of our slave-holding country, is more ...

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CHAPTER 2: Frontiers and Domestic Centers: Black Indiana, 1857–1862

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pp. 67-102

In a letter published in the Christian Recorder on 19 January 1861—as the United States moved closer and closer to civil war—the Reverend John Mif-fl in Brown celebrated the Recorder’s return aft er a hiatus of several years. Brown especially praised the recently appointed A.M.E. book steward and Recorder editor, Elisha Weaver: “I thank you for proving that we can do ...

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CHAPTER 3: The Black West: Northern California and Beyond, 1865–1877

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pp. 103-143

...“I wish that you could . . . cause your valuable journal to make its per-manent residence at the White House,” wrote “P. K. C.” to Philip Bell in a letter published in the San Francisco Elevator on the fi rst day of 1869, “so that the correspondence from Japan found in its columns . . . may have eff ect. . . . What a pity that Reporters and everything connected with the relationship of this country to the United States should be so amiss, with-...

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CHAPTER 4: Beyond Philadelphia: The Reach of the Recorder, 1865–1880

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pp. 144-183

As the Elevator was rising in the West, the Philadelphia-based newspa-per that Elisha Weaver had resuscitated was arguably becoming the most important black periodical in the nation. With the active support of an ever-growing church (including a cadre of ministers who recognized the textual as a key vehicle for African Americans), Weaver could report, in the 30 December 1865 Christian Recorder, that the A.M.E. Church’s fl agship ...

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EPILOGUE: (Re)Locating “Hannah Crafts”

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pp. 184-194

I initially conceived of this study’s conclusion as a series of short and pro-vocative close and contextualized readings of texts not considered in the previous chapters—both samples of other “unexpected places” and recon-siderations of better-known texts’ relationships to the frameworks off ered here. Among those better-known texts, I’ve been most fascinated with Th e Bondwoman’s Narrative, a manuscript novel published for the fi rst time in ...

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pp. 195-236

...1. Other literary-minded activists at the 1856 California Convention included educator Jeremiah Sanderson, abolitionist Frederick G. Barbadoes, and ministers James Hubbard and John Jamison Moore. Poet James Monroe Whitfi eld would join with remnants of this group when he moved to California a few years later. Most of the fi gures above are considered later in the volume; however, for more ...

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pp. 237-257

Repository of Religion and Literature (Indianapolis, IN, and Baltimore, MD)Amistad Research Center at Tulane University (American Missionary Association Missouri Historical Society (Dexter Tiff any Papers and Presidents Collection).Missouri State Archives at St. Louis (Circuit Court records; see below for specifi c New-York Historical Society (Records of the New-York Society for Promoting the ...


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pp. 258-269

E-ISBN-13: 9781604732849
E-ISBN-10: 1604732849
Print-ISBN-13: 9781604732832
Print-ISBN-10: 1604732830

Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2009