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Delany's paternal grandfather was an African chief; his maternal grandfather

a Mandingo prince. Born in the South, Delany resorted to learning how to read and write

 illegally. . . . his  he later settled in New York where he attended the African Free School.



Books by Edward W. Blyden


African Life and Customs  / Christianity, Islam and the Negro Race


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Books by Martin R. Delany


The Condition, Elevation, Emigration and Destiny of the Colored People of the United States


Principia of Ethnology: The Origin of Races and Color   /  Official Report of the Niger Valley Exploring Party


Origin and Objects of Ancient Freemasonry


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Martin Robinson Delany and Edward Wilmot Blyden

Race Men and Pioneer Black Nationalists

By Runoko Rashidi

Dedicated to Dr. John Henrik Clarke and Dr. Yosef A.A. Ben-Yochannan

Let me forever be discarded by the Black race, and let me be condemned by the White, if I strive not with all my powers, if I put not forth all my energies to bring respect and dignity to the African race.—Dr. Edward Wilmot Blyden


Among the most acclaimed of the early pioneer advocates of the rights of African people were Martin Robison Delany (1812-1885) and Edward Wilmot Blyden (1832-1912).  They were intellectuals and activists whose lives personified the maxim of Kwame Nkrumah"Thought without practice is empty, action without thought is blind."

Dr. Martin Robison Delany has been called "the father of Black Nationalism." It was Delany, in fact, who coined the phrase "Africa for the Africans."  Delany was born May 6, 1812 in West Virginia, of a free mother and a father who purchased his own freedom in 1823.  Delany's paternal grandfather was an African chief; his maternal grandfather a Mandingo prince. Born in the South, Delany resorted to learning how to read and write illegally.  Due to his continued desire to learn, he later settled in New York where he attended the African Free School.

Between 1843 and 1846 Delany published his own newspaper--the Mystery. Subsequently, he worked with Frederick Douglass on his weekly newspaperthe North Star.  In 1850, Delany  entered Harvard Medical School as one of its first Black students.  In 1859, he traveled to Africa, where he stayed for nearly a year, searching for a suitable location for emigration.  On February 8, 1865, during the U.S. Civil War, Delany received the commission of Major in the Federal Armythe first Black man to receive such a commission.

Delany was an accomplished author.  Not surprisingly, his favorite subject was history.  One of his books, Principia of Ethnology: The Origin of Races and Color, With an Archaeological Compendium of Ethiopian and Egyptian Civilization, From Years of Careful Examination and Enquiry, was published in 1879, and detailed the African origins of Nile Valley civilizations.

The racial and historical consciousness of Martin Robison Delany is apparent in the names he gave his children.  One of his son's name was Ramses Placido, named after the mighty Egyptian pharaoh Usemare Ramses II and the Cuban poet and revolutionary.  Other names for his children included Alexander Dumas, Saint Cyprian and Toussaint L'Ouverture. Frederick Douglass said of Delany, "I thank God for making me a man, simply, but Delany always thanks Him for making him a Black man."

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Dr. Edward Wilmot Blyden was born August 3, 1832 in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.  Blyden often remarked that "I would rather be a member of this race than a Greek in the time of Alexander, a Roman in the Augustan period, or Anglo-Saxon in the nineteenth century."  Blyden wrote and traveled extensively.  During a visit to Egypt in 1866 he recorded that:

I felt that I had a peculiar heritage in the Great Pyramid built . . . by the enterprising sons of Ham, from which I descended.  The blood seemed to flow faster through my veins.  I seemed to hear the echo of those illustrious Africans.  I seemed to feel the impulse from those stirring characters who sent civilization to Greece...I felt lifted out of the commonplace grandeur of modern times; and, could my voice have reached every African in the world, I would have earnestly addressed him...: `Retake your fame.

Of Blyden, the great Marcus Mosiah Garvey (1887-1940) stated that:

You who do not know anything of your ancestry will do well to read the works of Blyden, one of our historians and chroniclers, who has done so much to retrieve the lost prestige of the race.

In 1869, Blyden's essay entitled "The Negro in Ancient History" appeared in the Methodist Quarterly Review.  In 1887, Blyden's most comprehensive work—Christianity, Islam and the Negro Race—was published.  A monument stands to Dr. Blyden's memory at Freetown, capital of Sierra Leone, West Africa.

In spite of fact that Delany and Blyden struggled during the heart of the nineteenth century, time has not diminished the glory of their deeds.  This brief essay, therefore, is intended as a tribute to those deeds with the hope that it will help to inspire the present generation of African people to continue their noble struggle.

photos above Delany (left); Blyden (right)

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Martin Delany’s 200th Birthday

To Be Commemorated; Descendants Sought

Charles Town, WV (April 17, 2012) -- May 6, 2012 marks the 200th anniversary of Martin Robison Delany's birthday. Officials from the Jefferson County Black Preservation Society are looking to honor the descendants in various activities throughout this Bicentennial year. Delany, born a free black man in 1812 it what was then Charlestown, Virginia (now Charles Town, West Virginia), is best known for being the first black line officer in the U.S. Army. But he is much more than that.

Delany learned how to read and write by sitting outside the classroom of his white friends in Charlestown. He was denied the right to learn by the Commonwealth of Virginia law that prohibited blacks from being educated. When authorities learned about him, they confronted Delany's mother. Instead of going to jail, she fled with her son and other children to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.

At various times in his life Martin Delany attended Harvard College to pursue a career in medicine, was a newspaper owner, an author, and was one of the country's first black nationalists. He also was the organizer of the John Brown (the abolitionist) Constitutional Convention in Chatham, Ontario, Canada in 1858.

He proposed Negroes start their lives over in a new country perhaps in the West Indies or South America when he became convinced that would never get a fair shake in the United States. Delany's book The Condition, Elevation, Emigration, and Destiny of the Colored People of the United States tells of his ideas to form that new country.

Delany met with President Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War to suggest to the president that colored men be allowed to become soldiers in the Union army. President Lincoln sent a memo to Edwin Stanton, his Secretary of War, imploring Stanton to "Do not fail to have an interview with this most extraordinary and intelligent black man."

He was a recruiter for several USCT regiments including for the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Volunteers. He was later named Major Delany, becoming the first black line officer in the U. S. Army. In his later years, Major Delany became affiliated with Wilberforce University in Ohio. He died on January 24, 1885 and is buried near the school.Pittsburgh Urban Media

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Finding Truth in African Life and Customs

Edward Blyden’s Travels in Africa

Excerpts by Tracy Keith Flemming, Ph.D.


Blyden constructed Africans as the potential “metaphysical and spiritual” agrarian custodians of the world, complementing the “Northern races” who would serve as the urbanized scientific leaders of humanity. Blyden wrote that he had experienced spiritual states in Africa that could not be replicated in the Western world.

In the solitudes of the African forests, where the din of western civilization has never been heard, I have realized the sayings of the poet that the “Groves were Gods first temples.” I have felt that I stood in the presence of the Almighty; and the trees and the birds and the sky and the air have whispered to me of the great work yet to be achieved on that continent. I trod lightly through those forests, for I felt there was “a spirit in the woods.” And I could understand how it came to pass that the great prophets of a race—the great reformers who have organized states and elevated peoples, received their inspiration on mountains, in caves, in grottoes.

Christianity, Islam and the Negro Race, 19  

Blyden felt that the “development of the Negro on African soil” was critical to the regeneration of the race. The “feminine” character of the African race would balance the “harsh and stern fibre of the Caucasian races,” each branch of humanity playing a crucial, complementary role in the cultivation of universal civilization. The African in his native setting, according to Blyden, would “grow freely, naturally, unfolding his powers in a completely healthy progress” (Christianity, Islam and the Negro Race, 20).

His interpretive approach to Africans was becoming increasingly sociological. Early in his 1883 address, Blyden stated what was the foundation of his arguments in support of colonization in Africa and what would become the basis of his praxis at the turn of the century. His analysis and representation of Africans had become more scientific than his former approaches that were saturated by missionizing Christianity.

[M]en are now constructing the science of history, the science of language, the science of religion, the science of society, formulating dogmas to set aside dogma, and consoling themselves that they are moving to a higher level and solving the problems of the ages .... Among the conclusions to which study and research are conducting philosophers, none is clearer than this—that each of the races of mankind has a specific character and a specific work. The science of Sociology is the science of race.

Christianity, Islam and the Negro Race, 3

In African Life and Customs his usage of scientific racial ideology took a form that shifted from a monotheistic advocacy of pan-African nationalism to an Africanized, pantheistic pan-Africanism, one that would have a significant impact on the later development of Du Boisian Afrocentrism in the early twentieth century and cultural Afrocentrism of the mid-twentieth century and beyond (Wilson Jeremiah Moses, Afrotopia: The Roots of African American Popular History). . . .

Africa had its own ancient traditions, traditions that Blyden, as we have seen, had earlier claimed that Africans did not possess. His reference to “Gold Coast Native Institutions,” a work by one of his disciples, Joseph Ephraim Casely Hayford, revealed Blyden's morphed understanding and representation of Africans:

. . . [F]ervent is their belief in the hereafter. To them man never dies. . . . Now, when the missionary comes along, simple soul that he is, and gives the would-be converted native the comprehensive command to give up all fetish as a thing abominable in the sight of God, his reason reels, and the foundations of his faith are, for the first time, shaken. But he soon finds himself on terra firma, and when he remembers the lessons of his youth and considers that, after all, the missionary may be wrong in a matter that affects the vital interests of the life beyond, he remains for ever afterwards only a Christian worshipper in form, if he does not openly revolt. Where he remains a formal worshipper, it does not necessarily follow that he is a hypocrite. The fact is that he likes the music and the ceremonials of the Christian Church, and would fain continue to enjoy them, while at heart he remains true to the faith of his fathers.African Life and Customs, 73

“Spiritualism,” according to Blyden, was central to African epistemologies. “Everywhere in Pagan Africa there is this intercourse.” He further suggested, “Spiritualism is penetrating the higher circles of Society” (African Life and Customs  71-72). By this time, Blyden viewed Christianity from a spiritualist standpoint, arguing that the Christianity that was practiced in the Atlantic world was not the doctrine promulgated by Jesus. His dismissal of Christianity did not entail a rejection of the message of Jesus himself. Blyden's approach was now defined by an African primordialism that incorporated, or assimilated, the Gospels.

I am sure that Christianity, as conceived and modified in Europe and America, with its oppressive hierarchy, its caste prejudices and limitations, its pecuniary burdens and exactions, its injurious intermeddling in the harmless and useful customs of alien peoples, is not the Christianity of Christ. But I am sure, also, that the Christianity of Christ is no cunningly devised fable. . . . I am sure that its spirit will ultimately prevail in the proceedings of men; that the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. I am sure [about the spiritualism of] Jesus, upon whom is the spirit of the Lord. . . . I am sure, also, that all counterfeits, however bright or real they look, must vanish as the truth appears . . . Treading the footsteps of our immortal countryman [Simon of Cyrene, Libya], we must bear the Cross after Jesus. We must strip him of the useless, distorting and obstructive habiliments by which he has been invested by the materialising [sic] sons of Japhet. Let Him be lifted up as he really is that He may be seen, pure and simple, by the African, and he will draw all men unto Him African Life and Customs, 82-83

Blyden was convinced during the latter years of his life and travels in Africa and the Atlantic world that racial distinctions determined the existence of all human beings. His was not a hierarchical envisioning of humanity. But he fervently believed that races developed along distinct lines and that the efforts of Christian missionaries had an especially deleterious effect upon the development of Africans. He felt that an appreciation of native laws, customs, and societies was the best approach to pan-Africanism in the twentieth century. Technological advances in transportation such as the steamship and the railway; the pressures of the industrializing Atlantic market economy; increases in the number of books and newspapers available to natives; increasing literacy in the English language among natives; and the increasing number of natives who travelled to Europe in order to “see things for themselves” had led to monumental changes in Africa.

Africans were becoming increasingly aware of the imperfections of the Western world. Blyden stated,

It is difficult to get our philanthropic friends to understand that as a rule, the training they have been giving to the Negro with the very best intention is not the best for him . . . They honestly give us their best and wonder that their best does not produce the best results: but their best on their line is not as good as our best on our own line. . . . The missionary work as pursued at the present day is not the same as that pursued fifty or a hundred years ago. . . . In former days the missionary had what may be called a tabula rasa—an open and uncontested field. What he told the people remained in their mind as absolute truth, based, not only on the Word of God, but coming from a country where the people had reached the perfection almost of angels, and therefore he had a right as one of those who had “already attained” to be the guide of others. But all this is changed now ... [W]ithout a thorough revision of the missionary methods, adapting them to changed conditions, missionary work in West Africa will become more and more impossible.African Life and Customs, 66-68

Blyden's ideological formulations in African Life and Customs stemmed not only from his travels, but also in conjunction with his evolving autobiography as a minister of Christianity and later as a self-proclaimed “Minister of Truth” upon resigning from the Presbyterian Church in September 1886.

Religion with the African in his pure state concerns all classes of the people. . . .

[H]e approaches God by all the various means which He has created. They believe that the diving powers inhabit stones, trees, springs, and animals; and we find traces of this kind of worship in the Bible and in the early history of the Greeks. We find, for example, a sacred stone at Bethel called the House of God. There is a sacred oracular tree at a place called Sichem (Gen. xii. 6). Then there are the sacred wells at Kedesh and at Beersheba, to which people went to find God. In earliest times amongst the Greeks the image of a god was nothing but a mere stone which served to represent the deity and to which offerings were brought. This was the primary origin of altars. The example of stone worship may be seen any day in the Timne country. It is true, as [Reginald] Heber says, that—

The heathen in his blindness

Bows down to wood and stone.

But he does not look to the stone for help. He recognises [sic] within and beyond that stone the Spirit of his Creator.

The self-reflexive writings of Blyden were a precursor to “African modes of self-writing” that emerged among colonial and postcolonial African intellectuals during the twentieth century, a mode of writing that breathed new life into African struggles for independence and truth. Blyden's conservative yet revolutionary ideas played a major role in the development of black nationalism and pan-Africanism during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.—CGT

posted 18 November 2007

*   *   *   *   *

African Life and Customs

By Edward W. Blyden

African Life and Customs is an essential collection of Edward Wilmont Blyden's articles that examines the socioeconomic structure of African society. A native of St. Thomas, West Indies, Blyden (1832-1912) lived most of his life on the African continent. He was an accomplished educator, linguist, writer, and world traveler, who strongly defended the unique character of African and its people. In African life and Customs, Blyden examined the culture of pure Africans those untouched by European and Asiatic influences. He identified the family as the basic unit in African society and polygamy as the foundation of African families. He described African social systems as cooperative; everyone worked for each other. No one went without work, food, or clothing. Blyden challenged white racial theorists who held Africans were inferior and whose arguments supported their preconceived ideas. He assumed Africans to be distinct rather than inferior, and he analyzed African culture within the context of African social experiences.

Although some regarded Blyden s views as controversial during his time, today, upon reevaluation, his work is seen by many as an important attempt to perform a holistic analysis of African society. African Life and Customs is an impressive African centered interpretation of African culture.

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Christianity, Islam and the Negro Race

By Edward W. Blyden

As a writer, Blyden is regarded widely as the "father of Pan-Africanism". His major work, Christianity, Islam and the Negro Race (1887), promoted the idea that Islam, a major religion in sub-Saharan Africa, has a more unifying and fulfilling effect on sub-Saharan Africans than Christianity. Also a major religion in Africa, the latter was introduced mostly by European colonizers and Blyden believed it had a demoralizing effect, although he continued to be a Christian.

He thought Islam was more authentically African, although it had been introduced by Arab colonizers. This work was controversial in Great Britain, both for its subject and because many people at first did not believe that a black African had written it. In later printings, Blyden included his photograph as the frontispiece.Wikipedia

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Martin R. Delany: A Documentary Reader

Edited by Robert S. Levine


Martin Robison Delany (1812-85) lived an extraordinarily complex life as a social activist and reformer, black nationalist, abolitionist, physician, reporter and editor, explorer, jurist, realtor, politician, publisher, educator, army officer, ethnographer, novelist, and political and legal theorist. A sketch of his career can only hint at the range of his interests, activities, and accomplishments.

Born free in Charles Town, Virginia (now West Virginia), the son of a free seamstress and a plantation slave, Delany in the early 1820s was taken by his mother to western Pennsylvania after Virginia authorities threatened to imprison her for teaching her children to read and write.

In 1831 he moved to Pittsburgh, where he studied with Lewis Woodson and other black leaders, and began his lifelong commitment to projects of black elevation. He organized and attended black conventions during the 1830s and 1840s and during this same period apprenticed as a doctor and began his own medical practice. In 1843 he founded one of the earliest African American newspapers, the Mystery, which he edited until 1847. In late 1847 he left the Mystery and teamed up with Frederick Douglass to coedit the North Star, the most influential African American newspaper of the period. After an approximately eighteen-month stint with Douglass, Delany attended Harvard Medical School for several months but was dismissed because of his color.

Outraged by Harvard's racism and the Compromise of 1850, in 1852 he published The Condition, Elevation, Emigration and Destiny of the Colored People of the United States, a book-length critique of the failure of the nation to extend the rights of citizenship to African Americans, and a book that concludes by arguing for black emigration to Central and South America or the Caribbean. Delany's emigrationism conflicted sharply with Douglass's integrationist vision of black elevation in the United States. In response to Douglass's national black convention of 1853, Delany in 1854 organized and chaired a national black emigrationist convention, where he delivered "The Political Destiny of the Colored Race on the American Continent," the most important statement on black emigration published before the Civil War.

In 1856 Delany moved to Canada, where he set up a medical practice, wrote regularly for Mary Ann Shadd Cary's Provincial Freeman, and met with the radical abolitionist John Brown to discuss the possibility of fomenting a slave insurrection in the United States. During the late 1850s his views on emigration underwent a significant change. Instead of advocating black emigration to the southern Americas, he now argued for African American emigration to Africa. By 1859 he had obtained the funds that allowed him to tour the Niger Valley, and in December of that year he signed a treaty with the Alake (king) of Abeokuta that gave him the land necessary to establish an African American settlement in West Africa.

In search of financial support for the project, he toured Great Britain and garnered international attention for his participation at the 1860 International Statistical Congress in London. Around this same time he published a serialized novel, Blake (1859, 1861-62) in an African American journal. He also published a book-length account of his travels and negotiations in Africa, Official Report of the Niger Valley Exploring Party (1861). Delany's African project collapsed in the early 1860s when the Alake renounced the treaty, and by 1863 he was recruiting black troops for the Union army.

From 1863 to 1877, Delany recommitted himself to the integrationist U.S. nationalistic vision that had been central to his work with Douglass at the North Star. He achieved national fame for meeting with Abraham Lincoln in 1865 and shortly thereafter receiving a commission as the first black major in the Union army. Following the war, Delany served for three years as an officer at the Freedmen's Bureau in South Carolina, and he remained in South Carolina through the late 1870s as he attempted to make Reconstruction work in a stronghold of the former Confederacy. He published two major pamphlets for newly enfranchised African Americans, University Pamphlets (1870) and Homes for the Freedmen (1871), and in 1874 ran for lieutenant governor of South Carolina on the Independent Republican slate, losing by only 14,000 votes.

Disillusioned by the Republicans' half-hearted commitment to Reconstruction, Delany in 1876 endorsed Wade Hampton, the Democratic candidate for governor of South Carolina, and was nearly killed by shots from a black militia at a Hampton rally. Hampton won the election, but Reconstruction came to an end in 1877, and a disillusioned Delany turned his attention to helping southern blacks who wished to emigrate to Liberia. In 1879, as he was seeking a federal appointment that would allow him to finance his own emigration to Africa, he published Principia of Ethnology: The Origin of Races and Color (1879), an ethnographic study that, like his earlier Origin and Objects of Ancient Freemasonry (1853), expressed a Pan-African pride in blacks' historical, cultural, and racial ties to Africa.

Surveying Delany's dynamic and creative career a year after his death in 1885, the African Methodist Episcopal priest James T. Holly proclaimed that Delany was "one of the great men of this age," a person whose life was "filled with noble purposes, high resolves, and ceaseless activities for the welfare of the race with which he was identified," and who "has given us the standard of measurement of all the men of our race, past, present, and to come, in the work of negro elevation in the United States of America." . . . .UNCPress

*   *   *   *   * 

Robert S. Levine is professor of English and director of graduate studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. His books include Martin Delany, Frederick Douglass, and the Politics of Representative Identity.

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Martin R. Delany (1812-85) has been called the "Father of Black Nationalism," but his extraordinary career also encompassed the roles of abolitionist, physician, editor, explorer, politician, army officer, novelist, and political theorist. Despite his enormous influence in the nineteenth century, and his continuing influence on black nationalist thought in the twentieth century, Delany has remained a relatively obscure figure in U.S. culture, generally portrayed as a radical separatist at odds with the more integrationist Frederick Douglass.

This pioneering documentary collection offers readers a chance to discover, or rediscover, Delany in all his complexity. Through nearly 100 documents--approximately two-thirds of which have not been reprinted since their initial nineteenth-century publications--it traces the full sweep of his fascinating career. Included are selections from Delany's early journalism, his emigrationist writings of the 1850s, his 1859-62 novel, Blake (one of the first African American novels published in the United States), and his later writings on Reconstruction. Incisive and shrewd, angry and witty, Delany's words influenced key nineteenth-century debates on race and nation, addressing issues that remain pressing in our own time.—Publisher. UNC Press


Editor Levine's anthology provides a rich picture of the life and career of an extraordinary man. Written in Delaney's words, it collectively serves as a stirring, personal history of the tumultuous civil rights movement, from slavery to the beginnings of Jim Crow.Charleston Post and Courier


Rich in its implications for the present and future, this superb gathering of source material should be of particular value to students of American culture, the African diaspora, and American history. An indispensable work that should quickly take its place among the foremost documentaries of our time.Sterling Stuckey, University of California, Riverside


In this richly diverse but also in-depth collection, Robert Levine allows Martin R. Delany to reveal himself to us in all his confrontational, confounding complexity. Delany's writings, in turn, provide provocative and informative details about ways in which nineteenth-century African Americans argued and acted to define themselves in the United States and in the African diaspora. Levine's judicious selections and erudite annotations provide just the right accompaniment to Delany's strong and vibrant voice.Frances Smith Foster, Emory University


 *   *   *   *   * 

Martin R. Delany: A Documentary Reader

Edited by Robert S. Levine




A Note on the Texts


Part 1. Pittsburgh, the Mystery, Freemasonry


Prospectus of the Mystery

Not Fair

Liberty or Death

Young Women

Self-Elevation Tract Society

Farewell to Readers of the Mystery

Eulogy on the Life and Character of the Rev. Fayette Davis

The Origin and Objects of Ancient Freemasonry


Part 2. The North Star


Western Tour for the North Star

True Patriotism

Sound the Alarm


Political Economy

Domestic Economy

Southern Customs--Madame Chevalier

Annexation of Cuba

The Redemption of Cuba

Letter to M. H. Burnham, 5 October 1849

Delany and Frederick Douglass on Samuel R. Ward


Part 3. Debating Black Emigration


Protest against the First Resolution of the North American Convention

The Condition, Elevation, Emigration and Destiny of the Colored People of the United States

Letter to Oliver Johnson, 30 April 1852

Letter to William Lloyd Garrison, 14 May 1852

Letter to Frederick Douglass, 10 July 1852

Delany and Douglass on Uncle Tom's Cabin

Letter to Douglass, 30 May 1853

Call for a National Emigration Convention of Colored Men

Letter to Douglass, 7 November 1853

Political Destiny of the Colored Race on the American Continent

Political Aspect of the Colored People of the United States

What Does It Mean?

Letter to Garrison, 19 February 1859

Blake; or, The Huts of America



Part 4. Africa


A Project for an Expedition of Adventure

Letter to Henry Ward Beecher, 17 June 1858

Canada.--;Captain John Brown

Martin R. Delany in Liberia

Official Report of the Niger Valley Exploring Party

The International Statistical Congress

Africa and the African Race

Letter to James T. Holly, 15 January 1861

Letter to Robert Hamilton, 28 September 1861

Letter to James McCune Smith, 11 January 1862

Letter to the Weekly Anglo-African, 22 January 1862

The Moral and Social Aspect of Africa


Part 5. Civil War and Reconstruction


Letter to Edwin M. Stanton, 15 December 1863

The Council-Chamber.--President Lincoln

The Colored Citizens of Xenia

Monument to President Lincoln: Two Documents

Prospects of the Freedmen of Hilton Head

Triple Alliance

Letter to the Colored Delegation, 22 February 1866

Letter to Andrew Johnson, 25 July 1866

Letter to Henry Highland Garnet, 27 July 1867

Reflections on the War

University Pamphlets

Homes for the Freedmen

Delany and Frederick Douglass, Letter Exchange, 1871

Delany for Lieutenant Governor: Two Speeches

The South and Its Foes

Delany for Hampton

Politics on Edisto Island


Part 6. The Republic of Liberia


Letter on President Warner of Liberia, 1866

The African Exodus

Principia of Ethnology: The Origin of Races and Color

Letter to William Coppinger, 18 December 1880


Selected Bibliography


Although the book takes its subject only up to 1966when Marshall Stearns died of a heart attack shortly after the manuscript was completedit's still essential reading for anyone interested in jazz, in dance, and in the American musical theater.FindArticles

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#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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Salvage the Bones

A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.” Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake. She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. WashingtonPost

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Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile and Apartheid

By  Frank B. Wilderson, III

Wilderson, a professor, writer and filmmaker from the Midwest, presents a gripping account of his role in the downfall of South African apartheid as one of only two black Americans in the African National Congress (ANC). After marrying a South African law student, Wilderson reluctantly returns with her to South Africa in the early 1990s, where he teaches Johannesburg and Soweto students, and soon joins the military wing of the ANC. Wilderson's stinging portrait of Nelson Mandela as a petulant elder eager to accommodate his white countrymen will jolt readers who've accepted the reverential treatment usually accorded him. After the assassination of Mandela's rival, South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani, Mandela's regime deems Wilderson's public questions a threat to national security; soon, having lost his stomach for the cause, he returns to America. Wilderson has a distinct, powerful voice and a strong story that shuffles between the indignities of Johannesburg life and his early years in Minneapolis, the precocious child of academics who barely tolerate his emerging political consciousness. Publishers Weekly

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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