Civilization and Black Progress: Selected Writings of Alexander Crummell on the South
University of Virginia Press, 1995 - Literary Criticism - 265 pages
Friend and mentor to W. E. B. Du Bois, outspoken critic of Booker T. Washington, and founder of the American Negro Academy, Alexander Crummell (1819-1898) played a pivotal role in later nineteenth-century debates over race and black intellect. Yet compared with the widely available texts of Du Bois and Washington, Crummell's speeches and publications remain relatively inaccessible. Here, for the first time, is a full scholarly edition of Crummell's most significant writings on the South.
The eighteen texts that J. R. Oldfield has assembled cover the last twenty-three years of Crummell's life, when he was at the height of his influence as both an Episcopal minister and president of the ANA. All of the pieces, directly or indirectly, are concerned with the fate of Southern blacks in the areas of politics, education, religion, gender, and race relations.
Oldfield provides a thorough biography of Crummell in his introduction, as well as detailed annotations to the text, tracking down often-obscure sources for Crummell's numerous quotations. Additionally, Oldfield prefaces each address with a concise statement of its immediate context and its importance to Crummell's work as a whole. More specific publication information is listed in an Appendix. As this collection makes clear, Crummell's writings speak in the elegant and scholarly voice of a transitional figure who bridged two radically different worlds separated by the bloodshed and upheaval of the Civil War.
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