Drawing from the extensive collections at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, this remarkable anthology edited by Commander (associate director and curator, Lapidus Ctr. for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery at the Schomburg) collects narratives, from firsthand accounts to published speeches to court proceedings, of Black people becoming the agents of their own lives and liberation in the 19th century. An engaging foreword by Schomburg director Kevin Young is followed by an insightful introduction by Commander, in which she provides context on antislavery movements across the Atlantic world. Moving beyond prominent figures such as Frederick Douglass, this book stands out by bringing awareness to lesser-known American abolitionists, including Sarah Mapps Douglass, Maria W. Stewart, and Lucy Stanton, through the inclusion of their widely-circulated speeches. Also featured are powerful recollections of slavery from Bethany Veney and Henry Clay Bruce, among others, as well as harrowing accounts of escaping slavery from Ellen and William Craft, and more. VERDICT As a whole, this collection showcases the vastness of Black thinking and writing, and nicely complements works by Martha S. Jones and Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers. Complete with a list of suggestions for further reading, this winning anthology is a must for all interested in Black history, but unsure where to start.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


ALREADY A SUBSCRIBER?

We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing

ALREADY A SUBSCRIBER?