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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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The View from Abroad

The View from Abroad

(p.294) Chapter Seven The View from Abroad
A Refugee from His Race

Carolyn L. Karcher

University of North Carolina Press

The defeat in the Plessy case left Tourgée unable either to discern a feasible method of combatting white supremacy or to earn his living. He thus sought a consular appointment from President William McKinley, for which he received a flood of recommendation letters from African American and white supporters all over the country. As U.S. Consul to Bordeaux, Tourgée celebrated his country’s emergence as an imperial power, applauded its military victories and territorial conquests in the Spanish American War, and hailed the annexation of Hawaii. Lacking the close contacts with other races that he had cultivated with African Americans, he succumbed to racism toward the victims of U.S. imperialism. Simultaneously, Tourgée’s first-hand view of French anti-Semitism during the Dreyfus case undermined his belief that the solution to the U.S. race problem lay in education. African Americans nevertheless mourned Tourgée’s death and eulogized him in countless obituaries and memorial services.

Keywords:   William McKinley, U.S. Consul to Bordeaux, Spanish American War, Annexation of Hawaii, Dreyfus case, French anti-Semitism

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