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A Faithful Account of the RaceAfrican American Historical Writing in Nineteenth-Century America$
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Stephen G. Hall

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780807833056

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807899199_hall

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Troubling the Pages of Historians

Troubling the Pages of Historians

African American Intellectuals and Historical Writing in the Early Republic, 1817–1837

Chapter:
(p.17) Chapter 1 Troubling the Pages of Historians
Source:
A Faithful Account of the Race
Author(s):

Stephen G. Hall

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/9780807899199_hall.5

This chapter explores some of the earliest manifestations of textual historical production among African American intellectuals. Building on, as well as critically engaging, the work of Wilson Jeremiah Moses and John Ernest, the author here explores early nineteenth-century black historicism in the broadest possible terms in order to showcase the complexity of historical styles and approaches of that period. The chapter views these early historical works as far more than vindicationist—a defense of black humanity against racist disparagement. They are more than contributionist in their focus on how African Americans have contributed to American society. Freemasonry played a role in these texts, as Joanna Brooks and Maurice Wallace have persuasively shown, but its influence is not adequate to explain the constant references in these texts to the ancient world, especially Africa.

Keywords:   textual historical production, African American intellectuals, Wilson Jeremiah Moses, John Ernest, black historicism, Joanna Brooks, Maurice Wallace

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