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A Refugee from His RaceAlbion W. Tourgée and His Fight against White Supremacy$
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Carolyn L. Karcher

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469627953

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469627953.001.0001

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A Straight-Talking Advocate

A Straight-Talking Advocate

(p.1) Chapter One A Straight-Talking Advocate
A Refugee from His Race

Carolyn L. Karcher

University of North Carolina Press

Chapter 1 introduces Tourgée and illuminates his ethos, first, by tracing his career from the Reconstruction era to 1890, when he entered on his most intensive collaboration with African Americans, and second, by sampling his exchanges with selected African American correspondents, among them Charles W. Chesnutt, William H. Anderson, T. Thomas Fortune, Ida B. Wells, and Louis A. Martinet, with whom Tourgée developed his warmest friendship. The spirited dialogue in which Tourgée engages with his African American correspondents reveals his commitment to plain speaking, his generosity, his occasional insensitivity, his sympathetic understanding of the humiliation that racism inflicted, and African Americans’ appreciation of a white ally who did not treat them with condescension. One major episode—Tourgée’s uncompromising opposition to the flawed Blair Education Bill, which African Americans pragmatically supported as their sole viable option—also exemplifies the racial arrogance he could sometimes display.

Keywords:   Interracial dialogue, Charles W. Chesnutt, William H. Anderson, T. Thomas Fortune, Ida B. Wells, Louis A. Martinet, Blair Education Bill

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