Before Harlem: An Anthology of African American Literature from the Long Nineteenth Century



Before Harlem: An Anthology of African American Literature from the Long Nineteenth Century

This edition

"Before Harlem: An Anthology of African American Literature from the Long Nineteenth Century" . Ed. Ajuan Maria Mance. Knoxville: U of Tennessee P, 2016. xlviii+704 pp.

Table of contents


● Peter Williams / An Oration on the Abolition of the Slave Trade; Delivered in the African Church, in the City of New York, January 1, 1808 (1808)
● Absalom Jones / A Thanksgiving Sermon (1808)
● James Forten / Letters from a Man of Colour, on a Late Bill before the Senate of Pennsylvania: Letter I (1813)
● Samuel Cornish and John Russwurm / To Our Patrons (1827)
● Amos Beman / The Tears of a Slave (1828)
● S. / Theresa,--A Haytien Tale (1828)
● George Moses Horton / Gratitude (1828)
● George Moses Horton / Lines: On the Evening and Morning (1828)
● George Moses Horton / Slavery (1828)
● George Moses Horton / Forbidden Ride on the Street Cars (1866)
● David Walker / Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World (1830): Article I: Our Wretchedness in Consequence of Slavery
● Maria W. Stewart / An Address, Delivered at the African Mason Hall, Boston, February 27, 1833 (1833)
● Sarah Mapps Douglass / Ella: A Sketch (1832)
● Sarah Mapps Douglass / Family Worship (1832)
● Ann Plato / Advice to Young Ladies (1841)
● Ann Plato / Lines Upon Being Examined in School Studies for the Preparation of a Teacher (1841)
● Ann Plato / The Infant Class, Written in School (1841)
● Frederick Douglass / What Are the Colored People Doing for Themselves? (1848)
● Frederick Douglass / To My Old Master (1848)
● Frederick Douglass / The Heroic Slave (1853)
● William Wells Brown / Letter from William W. Brown, Adelphi Hotel, York, March 26, 1851 (1851)
● William Wells Brown / Letter from William Wells Brown, Oxford, Sept. 10th, 1851 (1851)
● William Wells Brown / "Clotel; or, The President's Daughter" (1853): Chapter 1: The Negro Sale
● William Wells Brown / Visit of a Fugitive Slave to the Grave of Wilberforce (1854)
● William Wells Brown / "My Southern Home: or, The South and Its People" (1880): Chapter IX
● James McCune Smith / "Heads of the Colored People," Done with a Whitewash Brush (1852-1854): The Black News-Vendor (1852); The Washerwoman (1852); The Sexton (1852); The Schoolmaster (1854)
● William J. Wilson / From Our Brooklyn Correspondent, May 13, 1852 (1852)
● William J. Wilson / Afric-American Picture Gallery: Number 1 (1859)
● James Monroe Whitfield / America (1853)
● James Monroe Whitfield / Prayer of the Oppressed (1853)
● James Monroe Whitfield / A Poem (1867)
● Joseph C. Holly / To Mrs. Harriet B. Stowe (1853)
● Joseph C. Holly / On the Death of My Sister Cecilia--The Last of Five Members of the Family, Who Died Successively (1853)
● Joseph C. Holly / An Epitaph (1853)
● Frances Ellen Watkins Harper / Eliza Harris (1853)
● Frances Ellen Watkins Harper / The Slave Auction (1854)
● Frances Ellen Watkins Harper / Bury Me in a Free Land (1854)
● Frances Ellen Watkins Harper / Enlightened Motherhood: An Address . . . Before the Brooklyn Literary Society, November 15, 1892 (1892)
● Peter Randolph / "Sketches of Slave Life: Or, Illustrations of the 'Peculiar Institution'" (1855): The Blood of the Slave; Slaves on the Auction Block
● Elymas Payson Rogers / from "The Repeal of the Missouri Compromise Considered" (1856)
● Elymas Payson Rogers / Loguen's Position (1859)
● J. W. Loguen / "The Rev. J. W. Loguen, as a Slave and as a Freeman" (1859): Chapter I; Chapter II
● J. W. Loguen / Letter to Rev. J. W. Loguen, from his Old Mistress, and Mr. Loguen's Reply (1860)
● Martin R. Delany / "Blake; or, the Huts of America" (1859): Chapter VI: Henry's Return; Chapter VII: Master and Slave; Chapter VIII: The Sale; Chapter IX: The Runaway
● Harriet E. Wilson / "Our Nig: Sketches from the Life of a Free Black" (1859): Chapter I: Mag Smith, My Mother; Chapter II: My Father's Death; Chapter III: A New Home for Me
● Harriet Jacobs / "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl" (1861): Chapter I: Childhood; Chapter II: The New Master and Mistress; Chapter V: The Trials of Girlhood; Chapter VI: The Jealous Mistress
● John Willis Menard / Liberia (1863)
● John Willis Menard / To Madame Selika (1879)
● Solomon G. Brown / The New York Riot (1863)
● J. Anderson Raymond / Poetry and Poets: Part I; Part II; Part IV (Concluded)
● J. Anderson Raymond / The Critic (Concluded) (1864)
● Edmondia Goodelle Highgate / Neglected Opportunities (1866)
● Edmondia Goodelle Highgate / On Horse Back--Saddle Dash, No. 1 (1866)
● Alexander Crummell / Thanksgiving Day Sermon: The Social Principle Among a People and Its Bearing on Their Progress and Development (1875)
● Henrietta Cordelia Ray / Lincoln; Written for the Occasion of the Unveiling of the Freedmen's Monument in Memory of Abraham Lincoln: April 14, 1876 (1876)
● Henrietta Cordelia Ray / To My Father (1910)
● Henrietta Cordelia Ray / Toussaint L'Ouverture (1910)
● Henrietta Cordelia Ray / In Memoriam: Paul Laurence Dunbar (1910)
● Timothy Thomas Fortune / "Black and White: Land, Labor, and Politics in the South" (1884): Chapter XII: Civilization Degrades the Masses
● Timothy Thomas Fortune / The Conclave: To the Ladies of Tuskegee School (1890)
● Timothy Thomas Fortune / Love's Divinest Power (1890)
● Timothy Thomas Fortune / Come Away, Love [undated]
● Charles Waddell Chesnutt / The Goophered Grapevine (1887)
● Charles Waddell Chesnutt / Tobe's Tribulation (1900)
● Charles Waddell Chesnutt / The Free Colored People of North Carolina (1902)
● Josephine D. Henderson Heard / A Mother's Love (1890)
● Josephine D. Henderson Heard / Wilberforce (1890)
● Josephine D. Henderson Heard / The Black Samson (1890)
● Josephine D. Henderson Heard / An Epitaph (1890)
● Anna Julia Cooper / "A Voice from the South" (1892): Womanhood: A Vital Element in the Regeneration and Progress of the Race
● David Bryant Fulton / A Hero in Ebony: A Pullman Porter's Story (1892)
● David Bryant Fulton / "Hanover; or, The Persecution of the Lowly; A Story of the Wilmington Massacre" (1900): Chapter V: Molly Pierrepont
● David Bryant Fulton / Henry Berry Lowery, the North Carolina Outlaw: A Tale of the Reconstruction Period (1907)
● Ida B. Wells-Barnett / "Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases" (1892): Preface; The Offense; The Black and White of It
● Fannie Barrier Williams / The Intellectual Progress of Colored Women Since the Emancipation Proclamation (1893)
● Amanda Smith / "An Autobiography: The Story of the Lord's Dealings with Mrs. Amanda Smith, the Colored Evangelist" (1893): Chapter XXXI
● Katherine Davis Tillman / The Newsboy (1893)
● Katherine Davis Tillman / Afro-American Boy (1897)
● Katherine Davis Tillman / The Warrior's Lay (1897)
● Katherine Davis Tillman / Soul Visions (1897)
● Katherine Davis Tillman / The Superannuate (1899)
● Richard Theodore Greener / The White Problem (1894)
● Victoria Earle Matthews / The Value of Race Literature: An Address Delivered at the First Congress of Colored Women of the United States (1895)
● Daniel Webster Davis / De Linin' ub de Hymns (1895)
● Daniel Webster Davis / Stickin' to de Hoe (1895)
● Paul Laurence Dunbar / Unexpressed (1896)
● Paul Laurence Dunbar / Frederick Douglass (1896)
● Paul Laurence Dunbar / When Malindy Sings (1896)
● Paul Laurence Dunbar / A Negro Love Song (1896)
● Paul Laurence Dunbar / Little Brown Baby (1899)
● Paul Laurence Dunbar / Dawn (1900)
● Paul Laurence Dunbar / Compensation (1901)
● Olivia Ward Bush-Banks / Voices (1898)
● Olivia Ward Bush-Banks / Heart-Throbs (1904)
● Olivia Ward Bush-Banks / The Nation's Evil (1904)
● Sutton E. Griggs / "Imperium in Imperio" (1899): Chapter I: A Small Beginning; Chapter II: The School; Chapter III: The Parson's Advice; Chapter IV: The Turning of a Worm
● William Hannibal Thomas / "The American Negro: What He Was, What He Is, and What He May Become" (1901): Chapter VII: The Moral Lapses
● "A Gude Deekun" / A Georgia Episode (1901)
● Pauline Hopkins / "Hagar's Daughter: A Story of Southern Caste Prejudice" (1901-02): Chapter IV; Chapter V
● James D. Carrothers / The Snapping of the Bow (1901)
● James D. Carrothers / Me 'n' Dunbar (1901)
● James D. Carrothers / Juny at the Gate (1902)
● James D. Carrothers / "The Black Cat Club: Negro Humor & Folk-Lore" (1902): Chapter I: The Club Introduced
● Benjamin Griffith Brawley / The Path of Life (1902)
● Benjamin Griffith Brawley / The Battleground (1902)
● Benjamin Griffith Brawley / The Problem (1905)
● Ruth D. Todd / The Octoroon's Revenge (1902)
● William Stanley Braithwaite / Love's Wayfaring (1902)
● William Stanley Braithwaite / Golden Moonrise (1908)
● William Stanley Braithwaite / In the Athenaeum Looking Out on the Granary Burying Ground on a Rainy Day in November (1908)
● Augustus Hodges / What Happened to Scott: An Episode of Election Day (1903)
● Marie Louise Burgess-Ware / Bernice, the Octoroon (1903)
● W. E. B. Du Bois / Credo (1904)
● W. E. B. Du Bois / A Litany of Atlanta (1906)
● W. E. B. Du Bois / The Burden of Black Women (1907)
● W. E. B. Du Bois / My Country, 'Tis of Thee (1907)
● Effie Waller Smith / The Preacher's Wife, Dedicated to the Wives of the Itinerant Preachers of the M. E. Church (1904)
● Effie Waller Smith / Apple Sauce and Chicken Fried (1904)
● Effie Waller Smith / To a Spring in the Cumberlands (1909)
● Effie Waller Smith / The Bachelor Girl (1909)
● Mary Church Terrell / What It Means to Be Colored in the Capital of the United States (1906)
● Kelly Miller / from "As to the Leopard's Spots: An Open Letter to Thomas Dixon, Jr." (1905)
● Thomas Horatius Malone / An Unheeded Signal (1905)
● Priscilla Jane Thompson / Freedom at McNealy's (1900)
● Priscilla Jane Thompson / The Husband's Return (1907)
● Priscilla Jane Thompson / A Home Greeting (1907)
● Clara Ann Thompson / Johnny's Pet Superstition (1908)
● Clara Ann Thompson / Mrs. Johnson Objects (1908)
● Clara Ann Thompson / The Easter Bonnet (1908)
● Clara Ann Thompson / A Lullaby (1908)
● S. Laing Williams / The New Negro (1908)
● Joseph Seamon Cotter / Grant and Lee (1909)
● Joseph Seamon Cotter / Uncle Remus to Massa Joel (1909)
● Joseph Seamon Cotter / The Confederate Veteran and the Old-Time Darky (1909)
● Joseph Seamon Cotter / Negro Love Song (1909)
● Maggie Pogue Johnson / Old Maid's Soliloquy (1910)
● Maggie Pogue Johnson / What's Mo' Temptin' to the Palate (1910)

Bibliography of Included Works
Biographical Sources
Secondary Sources

About the anthology

● Each selection includes a headnote about the author, the text itself, and annotations of historical references and textual allusions.

Publisher's description

● "Despite important recovery and authentication efforts during the last twenty-five years, the vast majority of nineteenth-century African American writers and their work remain unknown to today's readers. Moreover, the most widely used anthologies of black writing have established a canon based largely on current interests and priorities. Seeking to establish a broader perspective, this collection brings together a wealth of autobiographical writings, fiction, poetry, speeches, sermons, essays, and journalism that better portrays the intellectual and cultural debates, social and political struggles, and community publications and institutions that nurtured black writers from the early 1800s to the eve of the Harlem Renaissance. As editor Ajuan Mance notes, previous collections have focused mainly on writing that found a significant audience among white readers. Consequently, authors whose work appeared in African American-owned publications for a primarily black audience--such as Solomon G. Brown, Henrietta Cordelia Ray, and T. Thomas Fortune--have faded from memory. Even figures as celebrated as Frederick Douglass and Paul Laurence Dunbar are today much better known for their "cross-racial" writings than for the larger bodies of work they produced for a mostly African American readership. There has also been a tendency in modern canon making, especially in the genre of autobiography, to stress antebellum writing rather than writings produced after the Civil War and Reconstruction. Similarly, religious writings--despite the centrality of the church in the everyday lives of black readers and the interconnectedness of black spiritual and intellectual life--have not received the emphasis they deserve. Filling those critical gaps with a selection of 143 works by 65 writers, Before Harlem presents as never before an in-depth picture of the literary, aesthetic, and intellectual landscape of nineteenth-century African America and will be a valuable resource for a new generation of readers."-- "This anthology presents underappreciated works by African Americans active throughout the nineteenth century. Readers will find familiar names in this anthology, such as Douglass, Wells Brown, Jacobs, and Du Bois, but readers will also be introduced to lesser known and even unknown African Americans worthy of discussion, such as Solomon G. Brown, H. Cordelia Ray, and T. Thomas Fortune. Mance's intention for this volume is to offer an alternative to the Norton and Houghton Mifflin anthologies that emphasize only the canonical works of African American literature in the 19th century and to introduce students--and even professors--to a variety of writings, from poetry to journalism, by African Americans who have yet to receive their due" (WorldCat).

See also

● "Professor Ajuan Mance Pens New Book on 19th-Century Black Writers." Mills College press release. 23 Feb. 2016: "When people think about 19th-century African American history, slavery mostly comes to mind, not the thriving intellectual culture of the North, according to Mills College English Professor Ajuan Mance.
"Mance has written a new book on black writing for black readers from 1808 to 1910 called Before Harlem, an Anthology of African American Literature from the Long Nineteenth Century published by University of Tennessee Press. The book is a 632-page collection of 143 newspaper articles, poems, pamphlet articles, and book excerpts from 65 authors.
“'If black readers are anything like me, they will say "I need to read these writers,”' said Mance. 'They changed how I see myself and black history.'
"She found the pieces in historical archives, at libraries, and in several Northeastern universities, including Brown and Yale, over seven years of research. Most of the writing was published in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, and several communities in Ohio, Mance said.
“'When you read collections of African American literature from the 19th century, it’s mostly about slave narrative,' said Mance. 'It’s very much based in the South. But this writing focuses on African American people who wrote for each other. They are not trying to convince white folks of anything. I had no idea of the breadth and depth of this. All of these things are news to me. I thought "if I don’t know these people existed, who does?”'
"Mance said the phrase 'before Harlem' references work before the Harlem cultural renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s. Many of the stories in the book chronicle racial violence, education, segregation, and access to schools.
“'I’m hoping a lot of people will use this for a class, and I’m hoping for a black readership beyond academia,' Mance said.
"Mance has been teaching at Mills College since 1999. Her areas of interest include African American literature, 19th-century American literature, US popular culture, the oral tradition in US literature, black feminist thought and African American art. Before Harlem is her second book. Her articles have appeared in the Journal of African American Studies, and Callaloo, among others.
"Mance is scheduled to read from her new book at an upcoming launch party hosted by Mills College.
Book Launch and Reading
Wednesday, March 2, 2016
6:00 pm–8:00 pm
Mills College Faculty and Staff Lounge
5000 MacArthur Blvd."
● About the editor, Ajuan Mance: "Ajuan Mance is a Professor of English and Ethnic Studies at Mills College and a lifelong artist and writer. In her scholarly writings as well as her art and comics, Ajuan explores the relationship between race, gender, and representation. An African American literature specialist, she is the author of 'Inventing Black Women: African American Women's Poetry and Self-Representation, 1877-2010' (U Tennessee Press, 2007) and 'Before Harlem: An Anthology of African American Literature from the Long Nineteenth Century' (U Tennessee Press, 2016). Her comics have appeared in a number of anthologies including, most recently, the Ignatz Award-winning 'We're Still Here' (Stacked Deck, 2018), Diane Noomin's 'Drawing Power: Women's Stories of Sexual Violence, Harassment, and Survival' (Abrams, 2019), and the upcoming 'Menopause: A Comic Treatment' (Penn State U Press, May 2020). An artist and illustrator as well as a comic creator, Ajuan has participated in solo and group exhibitions from the Bay Area to Harlem. Her paintings and drawings have appeared in a number of digital and print media outlets, including Mission at Tenth,,,,, the San Francisco Chronicle, KPIX, and the New York Times" (Rosarium Publishing)

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