Abstract

ABSTRACT:

This essay analyzes how William J. Wilson, the author behind the pseudonym "Ethiop" and Brooklyn correspondent for Frederick Douglass's Newspaper (FDP), harnessed the visualist rhetoric of urban spectatorial literature as a means to influence mainstream public sphere debates about race and slavery. By contemplating the significance of Wilson's pseudonymic discourse and strategic employment of ocular tropes and metaphors, "Visualizing in Black Print" not only illuminates how Wilson both manipulated and resisted graphic forms of antebellum racial knowledge but it also reveals the social impact of black periodical culture's venerable legacy on FDP's multiracial readership. From my analysis, it becomes clear that Wilson's urbane sketches constitute the basis of a performative black epistolary culture wherein the spectacle of black eloquence in print encouraged a visualist logic for readers to both experience and perform.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2166-7438
Print ISSN
2166-742X
Pages
pp. 29-66
Launched on MUSE
2018-05-10
Open Access
No
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