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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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To Present a Just View of Our Origin

To Present a Just View of Our Origin

Creating An African American Historical Discourse, 1837–1850

(p.49) Chapter 2 To Present a Just View of Our Origin
A Faithful Account of the Race

Stephen G. Hall

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter explores more fully, and within the context of a period of rapidly changing ideas about black humanity, how African American intellectuals utilized history to challenge the consolidation of what John Ernest has characterized as “a white nationalist historiography,” a racially exclusive historical discourse predicated on white supremacy and dominance in an emerging American providential narrative. The consolidation of this historical narrative attempted to relegate African Americans to the margins of human history and raised serious concerns for black writers who interrogated the Western canon to reframe developing ideas about the rise of the West, black identity, and their role in the burgeoning republic in the period 1837 to 1850. Although slavery was ever-present, the active antislavery movement that facilitated the end of the slave trade in 1808 had crystallized, and the British abolition of slavery in their possessions in 1833 also encouraged historical reflection.

Keywords:   black humanity, African American intellectuals, John Ernest, white nationalist historiography, white supremacy

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