Martin R. Delany (1812-85) has been called the "Father of Black
Nationalism," but his extraordinary career also encompassed the
roles of abolitionist, physician, editor, explorer, politician,
army officer, novelist, and political theorist. Despite his
enormous influence in the nineteenth century, and his continuing
influence on black nationalist thought in the twentieth century,
Delany has remained a relatively obscure figure in U.S. culture,
generally portrayed as a radical separatist at odds with the more
integrationist Frederick Douglass.
This pioneering documentary collection offers readers a chance to
discover, or rediscover, Delany in all his complexity. Through
nearly 100 documents--approximately two-thirds of which have not
been reprinted since their initial nineteenth-century
publications--it traces the full sweep of his fascinating career.
Included are selections from Delany's early journalism, his
emigrationist writings of the 1850s, his 1859-62 novel,
(one of the first African American novels published in
the United States), and his later writings on Reconstruction.
Incisive and shrewd, angry and witty, Delany's words influenced key
nineteenth-century debates on race and nation, addressing issues
that remain pressing in our own time.