The Works of James M. Whitfield: America and Other Writings by a Nineteenth-Century African American Poet

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Robert S. Levine, Ivy G. Wilson
Univ of North Carolina Press, Feb 1, 2011 - Poetry - 256 pages
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In this comprehensive volume of the collected writings of James Monroe Whitfield (1822-71), Robert S. Levine and Ivy G. Wilson restore this African American poet, abolitionist, and intellectual to his rightful place in the arts and politics of the nineteenth-century United States.

Whitfield's works, including poems from his celebrated America and Other Poems (1853), were printed in influential journals and newspapers, such as Frederick Douglass's The North Star. A champion of the black emigration movement during the 1850s, Whitfield was embraced by African Americans as a black nationalist bard when he moved from his longtime home in Buffalo, New York, to California in the early 1860s. However, by the beginning of the twentieth century, his reputation had faded.

For this volume, Levine and Wilson gathered and annotated all of Whitfield's extant writings, both poetry and prose, and many pieces are reprinted here for the first time since their original publication. In their thorough introduction, the editors situate Whitfield in relation to key debates on black nationalism in African American culture, underscoring the importance of poetry and periodical culture to black writing during the period.

 

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Contents

Introduction
1
A Note on the Texts
29
America
31
Black Nationalism and Emigration
99
Poems from California
205
Selected Bibliography
237
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About the author (2011)

Robert S. Levine is professor of English and Distinguished Scholar-Teacher at the University of Maryland, College Park. His most recent book is Dislocating Race and Nation: Episodes in Nineteenth-Century American Literary Nationalism.

Ivy G. Wilson is associate professor of English at Northwestern University. He is the author of Specters of Democracy: Blackness and the Aesthetics of Nationalism in the Antebellum U.S.

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