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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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Advancement in Numbers, Knowledge, and Power

Advancement in Numbers, Knowledge, and Power

African American History in Post-Reconstruction America, 1883–1915

(p.151) Chapter 5 Advancement in Numbers, Knowledge, and Power
A Faithful Account of the Race

Stephen G. Hall

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter views historical representations of African Americans during the 1880s as something more substantial than celebratory and contributionist texts. Here they are the pretext for the rise of a critical African American historical voice. Representation, an idea embodied in what Henry Louis Gates has described as a “reconstruction of the image of the black,” is of seminal importance in understanding the historical constructions of African Americans in this era. According to Gates, the intention of black intellectuals was to “restructure the race's image of itself.” This reconstructed self, which presented the race in middle- and upper-class terms, was at sharp variance with, and sought to subvert, the social and intellectual stereotypes found in plantation fictions, blackface minstrelsy, vaudeville, pseudoscience, and social Darwinism.

Keywords:   African Americans, contributionist texts, representation, Henry Louis Gates

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