In this study of antebellum African American print culture in
transnational perspective, Erica L. Ball explores the relationship
between antislavery discourse and the emergence of the northern
black middle class.
Through innovative readings of slave narratives, sermons, fiction,
convention proceedings, and the advice literature printed in forums
like Freedom's Journal, the North Star, and the
Anglo-African Magazine, Ball demonstrates that black
figures such as Susan Paul, Frederick Douglass, and Martin Delany
consistently urged readers to internalize their political
principles and to interpret all their personal ambitions, private
familial roles, and domestic responsibilities in light of the
freedom struggle. Ultimately, they were admonished to embody the
abolitionist agenda by living what the fugitive Samuel Ringgold
Ward called an "antislavery life."
Far more than calls for northern free blacks to engage in what
scholars call "the politics of respectability," African American
writers characterized true antislavery living as an oppositional
stance rife with radical possibilities, a deeply personal politics
that required free blacks to transform themselves into model
husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, self-made men, and
transnational freedom fighters in the mold of revolutionary figures
from Haiti to Hungary. In the process, Ball argues, antebellum
black writers crafted a set of ideals-simultaneously respectable
and subversive-for their elite and aspiring African American
readers to embrace in the decades before the Civil War.
Published in association with the Library Company of Philadelphia's
Program in African American History. A Sarah Mills Hodge Fund
Subjects: History, Sociology
You do not have access to this book on JSTOR. Try logging in through your institution for access.
Log in to your personal account or through your institution.
Table of Contents
Export Selected Citations
Export to NoodleTools
Export to RefWorks
Export to EasyBib
Export a RIS file
(For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...)
Export a Text file