Creative Conflict in African American Thought by Wilson Jeremiah Moses

By Wilson Jeremiah Moses

Wilson Moses bases this choice of essays at the considered 5 significant African-American intellectuals: Frederick Douglass, Alexander Crummell, Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, and Marcus J. Garvey. Highlighting the highbrow struggles and contradictions of those personalities, in regards to person morality and collective reform, Moses finds how they contributed to suggestions for black development. He analyzes their pondering in the contexts of Jeffersonian and Jacksonian democracy, Social Darwinism, and progressivism. Wilson J. Moses is Ferree Professor of yank background and Senior Fellow of the humanities and arts Institute on the Pennsylvania kingdom collage. He has been Fulbright Senior Lecturer on the unfastened college of Berlin and Fulbright visitor Professor on the collage of Vienna. His books comprise Liberian goals: again to Africa Narratives from the 1850s (Pennsylvania kingdom collage Press, 1998), and Afrotopia: The Roots of African American renowned heritage (Cambridge, 1998).

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His autobiographies leave amazing gaps regarding interactions with other African American leaders, and even the best literary detectives, despite exhaustive investigation, have not filled these lacunae. William Wells Brown reports that Douglass was once interrupted by a heckler who asserted that Douglass’ oratorical ability was due to his white ancestry. The tall and substantially built Samuel Ringgold Ward, a man of unquestionably pure ancestry, rose from the audience to acquit himself with oratorical splendor said to surpass that of Douglass.

420. The Frederick Douglass Papers: Series One: Speeches, Debates, and Interviews. Vols. 1 and 2. , ed. (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1979). xml 18 Moses P3: LhE/ 0 521 82826 0 QC: February 12, 2004 0:47 Introduction A disturbing tendency in some recent historical scholarship is the practice of reading superficially in one or two of an author’s works, only to place them inside some sort of fashionable framework based on contemporary theoretical fads and to call this scholarship. A superior approach is to study authors thoroughly for several years – long enough to achieve a grasp of the ideas that were important to them in their own times, and to seek an understanding of them in terms of the things that interested them.

Xml Moses P3: Gvh/ 0 521 82826 0 QC: February 12, 2004 15:17 2 Frederick Douglass Superstar and Public Intellectual Stunningly handsome at sixty years of age, with his burnished silver mane, his eyes large, piercing, and commanding, yet warm and sensitive – that is the portrait of Frederick Douglass reproduced in classic sepia tones on my study wall. Most African Americans can happily identify with that sterling bearded sage. With his ideas, however, we identify more abstractly, and Douglass’ enduring popularity, in my view, derives almost entirely from the enduring forcefulness of his character and the courage of his freedom struggle.

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