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84CIVIL WAR HISTORY European nations had no choice but to intervene. Ferris has drawn obvious conclusions about Seward's diplomacy. Yet somehow they had gotten lost in some writers' exuberant efforts to read more into the Secretary's behavior than there was. Howard Jones University of Alabama The Search for a Bhck Nationality: Bhck Emigration and Colonization , 1787-1863. By Floyd J. Miller. (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1975. Pp. xiii, 295. $10.95.) This story of black emigration and colonization is well told, amply detailed, bibliographically sound, and carefully attentive to ideas. Floyd Miller has written not merely a good book, but a first-rate one, raising unexpected questions and suggesting new ways of understanding the familiar. In the 1780's Rhode Island Blacks generated a short-lived African emigration movement with missionary as well as commercial overtones . After 1817 the American Colonization Society spurred momentary interest in Liberia, but was quickly rejected as whitedominated , anti-Negro, perhaps even pro-slavery. Conversely, during the 1820's emigration to Haiti was more acceptable because there emigres could contribute to an established all-Black nation and help mature a still-inchoate Black Nationalism. Although chastened by practical defeats in both Liberia and Haiti, disheartened by the gradual erosion of their status in the nominally-free North during the 1830's and 1840's, and traumatized by the disastrous decade of the 1850's, Blacks nevertheless absorbed positive lessons from their own convention movement, their increasing political awareness, and recurrent migrations to Canada. Leaders like Martin Delany, Theodore Holly, and Henry Highland Garnet returned in the 1850's to emigration: Delany and Garnet in West Africa; Holly in Haiti. Proposing the most ambitious emigration ventures to date, their concepts generated a decade of debate and planning before they died out. Holly and a small group did stay on in Haiti; Garnet and Delany sacrificed Africa to the Union war effort. Central to that story is the gradual shaping of a Black Nationalism . Starting as a modest sense of unity and a desire to escape oppression by flight, emigration gradually embraced Afro-American cohesion, Black separatism, the primacy of political power, and a proto-Pan-Africanism. In sum it sought to create a new identity. Implicit but never stated in Miller's study is the thesis that emigration , which sprang originally from weakness, had by the 1850's regained momentum from strength. Blacks had learned and were learning from earlier emigration experience the dynamics of con- BOOK REVIEWS85 ventions, political action, and the emergence of vigorous and militant leaders. Independence replaced dependence; assertiveness , reticence. The anticipation was that where ambivalence had reigned, unity of purpose would follow; where defeat had been, victory would be. Success, however, eluded the antebellum emigrationists . Ambivalence did reign. Major leaders moved back and forth between emigration and its opposite, and as elsewhere bickered over leadership, ideologies, and petty nothings. Why did antebellum emigration fail? Largely eschewing the contention that Black victory depended on whites, Miller posits that Blacks were the victims of their own acceptance of current reform premises. Their leaders sought only skilled, sober, and industrious settlers; they were (often harshly) paternalist; they believed that Black failure betrayed flaws of character. Finally, their self-help philosophy paradoxically demanded that Blacks succeed at home. A second question touches the heart of the search for Black Nationalism. Was ambivalence really substantive, or simply tacking and trimming against a hostile sea? Was it a sign, in Miller's words, of ideological instability; or was there beneath it an ideological bed-rock? That Miller wishes the latter, his pointing prospectively to the later nationalisms of Bishop Turner, Marcus Garvey, and W. E. B. DuBois makes clear. But his answer is not precise. Nor need it be: the question transcends the bounds of the book. That is why it is so good a book. Floyd Miller has made it imperative to get on with exploring wherein lay—or did not lie—the community and conjunction among all ante-bellum free Blacks. Wiluam H. Pease University of Maine at Orono The Iron Brigade: A Military History. By Alan T. Nolan. (Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1975. Pp. xii, 412. $12.00.) Parker...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 84-85
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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