Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Martin R. Delany's Civil War and ReconstructionA Primary Source Reader$

Tunde Adeleke

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781496826633

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2020

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496826633.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM Mississippi SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mississippi.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Mississippi, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSSO for personal use. Subscriber: null; date: 27 September 2021

Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.3) Introduction
Source:
Author(s):
Tunde Adeleke
Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781496826633.003.0001

Abstract and Keywords

To engage Martin Robison Delany (1812–1885) is to confront the complexities and paradoxes of nineteenth-century black American leadership. He embodied the utilitarianism and pragmatism that the late August Meier described as the defining attributes of nineteenth-century black leadership.1 He refused to confine his life and struggles within the Manichaean good-versus-evil framework. There was no absolute good or absolute evil in Delany’s worldview. On the contrary, in crucial historical moments and contexts, Delany acknowledged only complex contending forces and interests, each with discernible merits and demerits. By characterizing Delany as someone who could not be classified “with either the good guys or the bad guys,” Delany aficionado Victor Ullman captured his ambiguity, or what many of Delany’s contemporaries perceived as his behavioral eccentricity....

I

To engage Martin Robison Delany (1812–1885) is to confront the complexities and paradoxes of nineteenth-century black American leadership. He embodied the utilitarianism and pragmatism that the late August Meier described as the defining attributes of nineteenth-century black leadership.1 He refused to confine his life and struggles within the Manichaean good-versus-evil framework. There was no absolute good or absolute evil in Delany’s worldview. On the contrary, in crucial historical moments and contexts, Delany acknowledged only complex contending forces and interests, each with discernible merits and demerits. By characterizing Delany as someone who could not be classified “with either the good guys or the bad guys,” Delany aficionado Victor Ullman captured his ambiguity, or what many of Delany’s contemporaries perceived as his behavioral eccentricity.2 In Delany’s judgment, no choice or condition was absolute or sacrosanct. His decisions were determined not so much by dogmatic adherence to some ideologically or racially defined considerations but by the dictates of what his conscience and reason determined to be in the interest of blacks. Delany made this poignant declaration early in his abolitionist career; “I care little for precedent, and therefore, discard the frivolous rules of formality, conforming always to principle, suggested by conscience, and (p.4) guided by the light of reason.3 In other words, he gauged situations and events through the prism of his utilitarian and pragmatic lenses.

To his nineteenth-century contemporaries (black and white alike), Delany evoked and conjured conflicting images, perceptions, and emotions. To some, he was the quintessence of blackness.4 His friend and fellow abolitionist, with whom he collaborated as coeditor of the North Star, Frederick Douglass, underscored Delany’s racial essentialist character when he observed that while Douglass merely thanked God for making him a man, Delany always thanked God for making him a black man.5 Bishop Daniel Payne of the African Methodist Episcopal Church once described Delany as someone who had far greater love for his race than he had for humanity. He was, in Bishop Payne’s words, “too intensely African to be popular and thereby multiplied enemies where he could have multiplied friends.”6 The white abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison portrayed Delany as “so black as to make his identity with the African race perfect.”7 One contemporary, Nelson Grant of Circleville, Virginia, identified Delany “among the finest of men.”8 Others, however, offered far less flattering portraits. Two of them reflected the ambivalence Delany evoked. To William H. Burleigh of Allegheny, Pennsylvania, Delany was both “a man who is as black as the ace of spade … who can make a good speech” and also someone who “lacks common sense.”9 Responding to a request for reference on Delany’s character, William M. Shim of Pittsburgh wrote,

Mr. Delany … was well known as an intelligent, active, energetic, zealous and uncompromising abolitionist. … I am constrained to express the opinion that he is not a man to be relied on for any great Christian or missionary enterprise. He is one of several who was at different times proposed to fill vacancies in the Board of Trustees of the college, against whom Mr. Avery set his face firmly and decidedly. … Affirmatively he has the reputation of being visionary and officious and negatively … lacks some of the indisputable requisite of such character as you seem to be in search of.10

After listening with great apprehension to a public lecture Delany delivered to Freedmen on Saint Helena Island, South Carolina, in the early phase of Reconstruction, Edward M. Stoeber, first lieutenant with the 104th United States Colored Troops, reported to the assistant adjutant general that he considered Delany “a thorough hater of the white race.”11 And yet it was precisely during this period that some highly placed white conservative introduced Delany as “the honest exemplar of the honest colored men of South Carolina.”12 Another described Delany as an educated man, a true patriot, and statesman who acquitted “himself so completely alongside the first gentlemen of South Carolina.”13

(p.5) These mixed and conflicting perceptions mirrored the deeper and larger conflicts, ambivalences, or what Theodore Draper aptly termed “dualities” of Delany’s public life.14 At some times, especially during the mid-nineteenth-century phase of his career, Delany espoused militant nationalist and anti-American ideas and values. Later, however, during the Civil War and Reconstruction period, he publicly disavowed such militancy, opting for racial reconciliation, compromises, and accommodation. That Delany’s life and struggles embodied such “dualities” was not unique. In fact, this was a defining attribute of black leadership orientation to America in the nineteenth century.15 As August Meier explained, “Overall, the typical late nineteenth-century black political leader in the South was a moderate. All were practical men who saw the necessity of compromise. They were also ambitious men who needed white support to advance themselves and the interests of their black constituents. Even the most militant spokesmen … found astute compromise essential to obtain the benefits desired either personally or for the race.”16 Delany was therefore no exception.

Yet despite his complex, ambivalent, and at times conflicting dispositions and idiosyncrasies, the portrait of Delany that came to dominate twentieth-century black American memory was of the ideologue, the racial essentialist, uncompromising, and anti-European Black Nationalist. This was the Delany glamorized in twentieth-century Black Nationalist discourses. There was hardly an acknowledgment or awareness of his “dualities” and ambivalences. A major historiographical challenge for Delany scholarship, therefore, remains the dominance of a personality that reflected only a dimension of his life and struggles (the radical, militant, anti-establishment character; the quintessence of blackness). There is no acknowledgment of the other conservative, accommodating, and pro-establishment personality. Thus, Delany is memorialized as an implacably militant and uncompromising ideologue of the black struggles.

Emphasis on his radicalism could be attributed to the ideological and instrumentalist slant of the context of his historical rebirth. Twentieth-century reconstruction of Delany’s life coincided with the upsurge of instrumentalist historiography in the late 1960s and early 1970s.17 Black history was then driven by what Peter Walker (in a different context) characterized as “selective perception syndrome,” in which only data or information that reinforced a certain ideological disposition were isolated and highlighted. This informed how Delany was conceptualized.18 Consciously or subconsciously, those who studied Martin Delany tended to steer toward, and highlight only, aspects of his life and thoughts that dovetailed with the radical and anti-establishment ethos of instrumentalist history. This was clearly, as Peter Walker rightly observed (again, in a different context) an attempt “to resolve the problem of human unruliness … by avoiding it.”19 Delany’s authorized biographer, Frank (Frances) (p.6) Rollin set the tone by describing Delany as someone “who conformed to no conservatism for interest’s sake nor compromises for the sake of party or expediency … His sentiments partaking of the most uncompromising radicalism.”20 Rev. Theodore J. Holly of the Episcopal Church of Haiti portrayed Delany as “manly and independent,” someone who “refused to play second fiddle to whites on issues relating to the black struggle … his devotion to his race was such that he would not compromise with whites, always preferring to ‘be himself’, alone in ‘solitary grandeur’ against republican radicalism, corruption, evincing foresight that enabled him anticipate the demise of reconstruction.”21

Delany was therefore exalted as the ideological father of black radicalism, and his values and idiosyncrasies were magnified for adaptation. In other words, Delany became the exemplar of implacable militancy in the iconography of twentieth-century black resistance. However real, this militant persona was not Delany’s one and only personality trait. Despite the existence of Bill McAdoo’s critical and damning portrait of Delany’s nationalist ideas published in 1966 and subsequent revisionist publications in the last decade and half about Delany’s ambivalence and pragmatism, the ideological and instrumentalist portrait has remained dominant.22 There appears to be both a reluctance and failure on the part of most modern scholars to acknowledge that Delany’s life was not just one long chapter of indefatigable militancy, but a set of complex historical experiences and contexts that mirrored his ambivalent values and thoughts.

For more than two decades after the publication of Victor Ullman’s and Dorothy Sterling’s pioneering biographies of Delany and subsequent works by Floyd J. Miller and Cyril Griffith, black American historiography ignored the crises and contradictions of Delany’s life and thoughts.23 Few are willing to engage the phenomenon of “dualities” that Theodore Draper much earlier identified as crucial to understanding Delany’s life and thoughts or even acknowledge the ambivalence Victor Ullman suggested when he described Delany as someone who could not be classified “with either the good guys or the bad guys.” Delany seemed frozen in an ideological twilight zone: a one-dimensional, radical, anti-establishment character. Although there have been studies that highlight the complexities of Delany’s life and thus raise questions about the instrumentalist genre, critics in both scholarly and popular discourses reject and delegitimize any interpretation or portraits of Delany other than the ideological and instrumentalist. Consequently, Delany has been, and remains, the victim of what the late Walter Rodney (in a different context) termed the “grand singular” narrative or discourse, a strictly ideological and binary discursive mode that is devoid of nuance.24 He’d been compartmentalized and fitted with ideological straitjacket often by scholars who either have not taken time to study his life and writings, or have only sketchily read portions (p.7) of his writings without an understanding of their historical contexts. Others simply relied on interpretations by so-called Delany scholars whose objective is to advance Delany as an ideological arsenal for twentieth-century Black Nationalist resistance. They invent and popularize a dehistoricized personality. The ambiguities and nuances of his life and thoughts are either deemphasized or jettisoned, reproducing, in the process, a distorted portrait. These “Delany scholars and experts” pontificate dogmatically about the instrumentalist and nationalist worldview while refusing to acknowledge anything about Delany that contradicted the ideological and nationalist worldviews they defended.

The Delany historiography is at a crossroads and has been for decades. Conflicting interpretations and genres compete for authentication. There are unresolved questions. Was Delany militant and uncompromising? Or, was he, like leading blacks of his times, pragmatic, utilitarian, accommodating, and at times conservative? Or, better still, could Delany have been a combination of some or all of the above attributes? In other words, did he manifest complex and conflicting dispositions (radical, conservative, ideologue, pragmatist, utilitarian, accommodating, and compromising)? How do we address these questions? One practical approach would be to afford Delany greater latitude for self-representation by bringing readers within earshot of his voice. In other words, the historical reconstruction of Delany must include giving readers unfiltered access to his writings and speeches. The objective here is to let Delany speak for himself, with little authorial intervention; to allow the reader full access to his ideas and writings, and a glimpse into the mind of this “other Delany”; and thus gain informed knowledge and understanding of the neglected and marginalized dualities and ambivalences of his life and thoughts. No medium has proven more effective in bringing subject and readers within communicative proximity, thus bridging decades, if not centuries, of historical time, space, and distance, than the documentary genre.

The availability of original papers and documents has tremendously enriched the historiographies of black leaders such as Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. Du Bois, Henry McNeal Turner, Alexander Crummell, and many others.25 These documentary anthologies provide direct and unrestricted insights into these leaders’ minds and thought processes. A major challenge of the Delany historiography, however, has been assembling his scattered documents. Robert Levine has taken the lead in tacking this difficult task, and his published anthology is indeed welcome and long overdue.26 That it took more than three decades after the publications of the first modern biographical studies of Delany in the early 1970s before his collection of documents was published underscores the difficulty associated with Delany’s papers. Acquiring and publishing Delany’s speeches and writings, scattered in libraries, (p.8) archives, and private collections across the globe, is a daunting task. Another consideration was the devastating loss of hundreds of Delany papers in the fire that engulfed Wilberforce College in 1866. As a trustee, Delany maintained a personal library on the third floor, which was completely destroyed.27

The potency of the instrumentalist genre and its shortcomings compel “hearing” directly from Delany. Levine’s anthology is a step in the right direction and a work of immense historiographical significance. For the first time, readers have access to Delany’s own words and writings. This is important, given the dominant ideological context within which Delany has been constructed since the 1960s. A major shortcoming of the Levine anthology, however, is the sketchy and inadequate representation of the crucial Civil War and Reconstruction phase of Delany’s life and struggles. While Levine’s anthology satisfies a critical need, the poor representation of the Civil War and Reconstruction leaves a gaping hole. The few documents Levine selected for this period neither illuminate the complexities of Delany’s ideas and activities nor reflect the depth of the crises that his advent into politics provoked in South Carolina. Also, the documents Levine presented are mostly brief excerpts, not full documents. This shortcoming, therefore, compromises understanding of both the complexities of Delany’s ideas and his location within the ideological spectrums of black leadership in American history.

Regardless of how others viewed his actions, Delany perceived himself first and foremost as a laborer “in the cause of humanity.” He underscored this universalistic character of his vision at crucial moments in both the antebellum and postbellum eras. First, in the vast majority of reports, letters, and commentaries he published in the North Star during his brief collaboration with Frederick Douglass (1847–49), Delany closed with “Yours for God and Humanity.”28 Second, in his 1871 landmark letter to Douglass in which he rendered a lengthy and damning review of Radical Reconstruction and what he characterized as its destructive impacts on Black America, he closed with “Your friend and co-laborer in the cause of Humanity.29 Delany’s repeated construction of his struggles within the broader universalistic as opposed to a racialist purview was not coincidental. He was deliberate in opting to define himself within a “universalistic” frame at a time when, he felt, leading blacks were duped into embracing and endorsing racialized, culturally provincial, and divisive Weltanschauung. This is a portrait of Delany that some critics have yet to acknowledge. This universalism was most vividly demonstrated during his advent into politics in Reconstruction South Carolina.

Martin R. Delany’s Civil War and Reconstruction, therefore, bridges a critical gap in the Delany historiography. It is imperative that readers have not only direct engagement with Delany’s writings and speeches but also full and (p.9) unrestricted access. Authorial interventions in the selection process in the form of either summarizing or downsizing of documents, as is the case with Levine’s book, have been significantly responsible for the twin faults of misrepresentation and misunderstanding of Delany. Readers’ understanding and constructions of Delany have thus far been compromised by such “disruptive” (for want of a better concept) selection process, which often compromised the opportunity to more directly and fully engage and understand Delany. To mitigate this, therefore, the documents in this study are presented in their entirety.

Another important aspect of this publication is the contextualization of Delany’s ideas and speeches. Wherever possible, the documents are presented along with whatever critical responses and reactions they evoked and provoked among his contemporaries. Thus, it is not just Delany’s writings and speeches that are presented here but also his contemporaries’ responses. Juxtaposing Delany’s writings and speeches with the reactions they provoked facilitates not only greater understanding of their full import and significance but also, and perhaps more importantly, appreciation of the magnitude of the power and influences Delany wielded. The documents underscore his political suaveness and the utilitarian, pragmatic, complex, and complicated nature of his political thought. Regardless of the ideological, primordial, or cosmopolitan values and idiosyncrasies one associates with Delany, there is a certain consistent and irrefutable attribute he embodied: Delany loved his race and was unashamedly proud of his African ancestry and heritage. Yet he loved America as well and was as deeply passionate about America as he was about Africa. In Martin Delany this double consciousness, though at times conflicted, was not necessarily irreconcilable. Being African and American reinforced each other. Both identities were fundamental to Delany’s sense of being, to his existential fulfillment.

A primary objective of this documentary study is to help bring clarity to what I consider the existential problematic of the Delany historiography: Who was the real Martin Delany? Was the real Delany militant, anti-establishment, uncompromising, and perhaps even anti-white and anti-America? Or could the real Delany be the conservative, utilitarian, and pragmatist who reached across the racial divide and explored diverse political and social reform strategies? Will the real Martin Delany please rise? In essence, the central and still-unresolved challenge of the Delany historiography remains the inability to agree on the central defining attributes of the man. This is the challenge at the core of this collection of Martin Delany’s Civil War and Reconstruction papers. To gain clarity and understanding of Delany and possibly resolve the existential problematic of the historiography, it is necessary to engage Delany’s own writings and speeches directly. In other words, the reader needs to access Delany more directly through his speeches and writings, not through interpretations (p.10) and filters provided by others. There are several intellectual benefits to reading Delany’s speeches and “listening” to and “hearing” his voice, not the least of which is the acquisition of informed understanding of the dynamics of, and appreciation for, the dualities or ambivalences and contradictions of his life and thought. Delany was clear and unambiguous about his self-definition, the ideas and values he cherished, and his goals and visions for blacks and for America. One need only read his Civil War and Reconstruction writings and speeches to appreciate his complexities.

This study is divided into six chapters representing the key phases of Delany’s Civil War and Reconstruction career. The documents in chapter 1 introduce readers to Delany’s services as a recruiting agent and the first combat black major in the Union Army during the Civil War. They embody his visions, hopes, and aspirations for blacks in postslavery America. They offer glimpses into his patriotic fervor and leadership abilities. In chapter 2, the documents relate to Delany’s next major assignment after the Civil War: as a Freedmen’s Bureau sub-assistant commissioner in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Delany described in detail his views and opinions on what could and should be done to ensure that freedmen had the resources and opportunities to fully explore the meaning of freedom and the benefits of doing so. The documents also highlight some of the critical problems and challenges freedmen confronted, as well as Delany’s strategic efforts and the solutions he proposed that enabled him to create a successful working relationship between freedmen and planters (former slaves and former slaveholders) in his bureau district, a feat that was not matched by bureau agents in other districts.

Documents in chapter 3 introduce readers to the intricacies of the first phase of Delany’s entry into the politics of Reconstruction South Carolina. They elucidate, among others, Delany’s political philosophy and visions, his conflicted and ambivalent views on black political rights, his controversial stand on the subject of social equality, his attempts to curtail black political aspirations, and his insistence that blacks attained some “pre-qualification” before aspiring for certain political positions. The documents also reveal the reactions and responses of contemporaries across the ideological spectrum (radicals and conservatives) to Delany’s controversial and often provocative views on Radical Reconstruction, his scathing assessment of black political participation and performances in Reconstruction, his critique of Republicanism and its challenges, his unease and disillusionment with the Radical Republican Party in South Carolina, his relentless and scathing rebuke of what he characterized as the Party’s corruptive and destructive influence on blacks. Finally, they reveal the reactions of the Republican Party and its black political allies to Delany’s persistent calls for politics of moderation and compromise. Overall, (p.11) the documents in this chapter underscore not only the conflicts Delany’s ideas provoked with the ruling Radical Republicans but also the essential and underlying pragmatism of his thoughts. Delany explained the rationale for his advocacy of accommodation and compromise and persistent opposition to what he characterized as the destructive ideological and doctrinal rigidity of Radical Republicanism. The resultant political divergence and controversies became the grounds for Delany’s decision to quit the Republican Party and join the Democratic Party (party of ex-slaveholders and ex-Confederates) in 1876.

The documents in chapter 4 shed further light on the dynamics of Delany’s controversial views on social equality and racial reconciliation, his prescriptions and strategies for attaining justice and equity, the shortcomings and failures of Radical Republicanism, the pitfalls of the Black–Radical Republican Party alliance, and further reactions of ideological opponents to his ideas. The documents also expound on the circumstances leading to Delany’s brief alliance with South Carolina conservatives, independents, and ex-Confederates in an abortive attempt to wrench political power from the Radical Republicans and turn Reconstruction along a more reconciliatory and moderate course. Known as the Independent Republican Movement (IRM), this alliance between Delany and South Carolina conservatives and ex-Confederates exemplified the duality and ambivalence Theodore Draper and Victor Ullman both drew attention to, as well as the compromise August Meier identified as a defining attribute of nineteenth-century black leadership. Equally significant, the IRM also underscored the utilitarian and conflicted nature of Delany’s political thought.

In chapter 5, the documents elucidate the crises of Delany’s conservatism. Here, Delany provided detailed explanations for his persecution by, and ultimately alienation from, the Radical Republicans. He emphasized the political nature of the persecution and elaborated on the circumstances leading to it and to his trial and conviction for grand larceny. The documents also include the commentaries and reaction of contemporaries to Delany’s predicament. Overall, this chapter illuminates the challenges Delany confronted, especially the desperate and difficult political and socioeconomic retributions he experienced during the closing years of Reconstruction. The documents in this chapter also engage the reader more intimately with the dynamics of Delany’s political conservatism, as well as the political and socioeconomic ramifications. Delany offered readers explanations for the grand larceny charge and subsequent trial and conviction. He portrayed the entire episode as politically instigated in retaliation for his conservative ideas and persistent opposition to Radical Republicanism. What is particularly revealing in this chapter is Delany’s introduction of the outline of ten “offenses” he alleged Radical (p.12) Republicans had charged him with, which served as justifications for the grand larceny prosecution. Undoubtedly, Delany wanted to publicize these offenses in order to expose the political and vindictive nature of the episode and thus generate public sympathy for his predicament.

The documents in chapter 6 address the underpinnings of Delany’s growing frustration with Radical Republican rule in South Carolina and his momentous decision to switch to the Democratic Party in the epochal election of 1876. In some of the documents, Delany explained the circumstances of his decision to switch Party allegiance and the political and economic costs and consequences. Furthermore, in his correspondence with officials of the American Colonization Society, Delany summarized the negative and vindictive reactions his political conservatism provoked, and the new direction he envisioned in the aftermath of the failure of his political aspirations: emigration and renewed quest for the Black/African nationality.

Overall, this documentary study embodies the complexities, trials, and tribulations of Delany’s postbellum career. The book takes readers through the major phases and transitions of that career: his time as black major, sub-assistant commissioner of the Freedmen’s Bureau, conservative Republican, and independent Republican, his trial and conviction; his transition to a new departurist Democrat, and finally back to his stance on emigration and Black Nationalism.

II

Martin Delany was a free black, the youngest of seven children born to Samuel and Pati Delany on May 6, 1812, in Charlestown, Virginia (now in West Virginia). Situated on the valley of the Shenandoah River, Charlestown had fewer than a thousand inhabitants when Delany was born. Delany inherited his free status from his mother, who was free. Under Virginian law, mothers passed their status on to their children. Like most free blacks, however, freedom did not confer any special rights or privileges. Consequently, Delany’s childhood experiences mirrored the ugly and dehumanizing realities of slavery and racism. From the start he encountered a hostile world and acquired firsthand knowledge of slavery through the experiences of his slave father, Samuel. His grandparents were also slaves. His maternal grandparents, Shango and his wife, Graci, had been captured in Africa sometime in the late eighteenth century and transported across the Atlantic. They were finally sold to a planter near Richmond, Virginia. In fact, the society into which Delany was born and raised mirrored the broader contradiction or paradox of American democracy. Jeffersonian Virginia nurtured contradictory and potentially explosive (p.13) experiences. On the one hand, there was the leisurely, affluent, and elegant lifestyle of the aristocratic ruling class and slave owners. At the other extreme were the dull, poverty-stricken, and dehumanizing experiences of blacks. One authority described the Shenandoah in the early nineteenth century as an agreeable and hospital environment that fulfilled the hopes and aspirations of the early Germans, Scots-Irish, and English immigrants. For these settlers, many of whom, like the Scots-Irish, had escaped persecution elsewhere, the Shenandoah was indeed a promised land.30 For blacks, however, slave and free alike, the Shenandoah was anything but idyllic.

The early settlers supposedly dispensed with slavery. This would change with the arrival of English migrants in the second half of the eighteenth century.31 There is still disagreement on the experiences of these early slaves. Soon, however, with the increase in slave population, slavery assumed its distinctive and peculiar character. Slaves were poorly fed and clothed, brutalized, and dehumanized. Such inhumane practices as burning, maiming, and whipping were common. Free blacks, on the other hand, had to contend with the emptiness and fragility of freedom. They were denied all the vestiges of American citizenship, including the right to vote and access to education. These free blacks held desperately and precariously to a fragile freedom that was very often revoked through reenslavement.32 Delany’s parents were soon compelled to flee Virginia for the relative safety of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. But Chambersburg was no haven, and the persistence of racism and discrimination only reinforced Delany’s growing unease and indignation. In July of 1831, at the age of nineteen, and determined to resist and overcome the debilitating weight of oppression and discrimination, Delany left his parents and headed for Pittsburgh.33 This decision reflected both his growing maturity and his inner determination to become more actively involved in the emerging black abolitionist movement.

By the early nineteenth century, Pennsylvania was fast becoming the seedbed of black abolitionism. The liberal atmosphere and reputation of Pennsylvania had attracted black migrants from other parts of the country. Pittsburgh had in fact become a metropolis of the black struggle, where migrants who were escaping oppressive conditions elsewhere had congregated for years. When Delany arrived, therefore, there was already a nucleus of black abolitionism in formation. These blacks were drawn together by a determination to forge concerted efforts toward meaningful freedom and equality. They had created miniature structures and institutions for self-improvement and cooperative development. Delany also arrived at a momentous time, when blacks were agitated and invigorated by the abortive Nat Turner insurrection in Southampton, Virginia. Although it failed, the episode assumed mythic proportion among blacks. Delany began his education at the African Methodist (p.14) Episcopal Church Cellar school organized by “Daddy Ben” Richards, a wealthy realtor and butcher, and Reverend Lewis Woodson, a fugitive from Virginia.34 Although Delany met other notable and influential blacks, two individuals profoundly shaped his ideological outlook: Woodson and William Whipper. Whipper was a native Pennsylvanian from Little Britain in Lancaster County. Both men discussed and explained moral suasion ideas and values in black newspapers and soon became the leading philosophical advocates of the ideology of moral suasion that shaped black abolitionism for the first half of the nineteenth century.35 Delany quickly immersed himself in the struggles and, according to his authorized biographer, registered his vow against the enemies and oppressors of his race.36

Since Delany’s formative years and ideological mentoring and development coincided with the first phase of the Negro National Convention Movement that emerged in Pennsylvania in the early 1830s, his role in these early conventions was minimal. However, within a few years, he rose to become a leading advocate and crusader for moral suasion. Delany arrived Pittsburgh in 1831 and immediately embraced the bourgeoning antislavery and reform activities, especially the struggle for blacks to gain unrestricted access to education. His efforts resulted in the creation of the African Education Society of Pittsburgh. Delany also helped found the Theban Literary Society for improvement in the literary and intellectual endeavors of blacks. By 1834, less than five years after he arrived, Delany became active member of the Pittsburgh moral suasion reform efforts, a secretary of the Temperance Society of the People of Color of Pittsburgh, and a founding member of the Young Men’s Moral Reform Society of Pittsburgh.

These reform initiatives among blacks in Pittsburgh and other parts of Pennsylvania in the 1830s were extensions of a growing national movement. The black church, the black press, and the convention movement became institutions and signifiers of organized black abolitionism in the early 1800s. These were crucial avenues (albeit conflicted and ambivalent with respect to the church) for the dissemination of antislavery and moral suasion ideas.37 In 1787 in Philadelphia, Reverends Richard Allen and Absalom Jones and a few other blacks withdrew from the Saint George’s Methodist Episcopal Church in protest of the established practice of confining blacks to segregated pews during worship. Subsequently, Allen and Jones founded the Free African Society, which became a precursor to the African Methodist Episcopal Church. The founding of the AME Church birthed the independent black church movement, which spread to other states.38 In 1827 John Russwurm, a Jamaican immigrant and graduate of Bowdoin College, founded the first black newspaper, Freedom’s Journal. He believed that blacks needed to be heard and should be (p.15) more actively involved in articulating their interests and needs. As Russwurm underscored in the inaugural issue of the paper, “We wish to plead our cause. Too long have others spoken for us. Too long has the publick been deceived by misrepresentations, in things which concern us dearly.” Black abolitionists generally agreed on the need for a strong newspaper to articulate black interest and disseminate ideas and values that would advance black community efforts at self-improvement. Other black newspapers soon followed, including the Colored American and the North Star.39

The call for black unity in the face of mounting anti-black violence that reached a frightening proportion in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1829 birthed the convention movement. Helmed in by restrictive and discriminatory laws and besieged by racial violence, free blacks finally decided to launch the convention movement as an organizational framework for proactive and concerted efforts.40 By 1834 they had adopted moral suasion as a guiding philosophy. Moral suasion reflected blacks’ faith in the Protestant work ethic and the promises of the American Dream. Moral suasion derived from the premise that through industry, economy, education, and moral improvements, blacks would ultimately convince whites to concede genuine freedom and equality.41 By subscribing to moral suasion, blacks somehow seemed to acknowledge and validate the pro-slavery contention that race had nothing to do with the negative and dehumanizing experiences blacks were subjected to. According to this reasoning, blacks were subordinated and denied equality not because of their race but due largely to their wretched condition. Presumably, improving the condition would eradicate discrimination. Motivated by moral suasion, blacks embarked upon the early convention movement, focusing on efforts that would enhance their social, economic, educational, and moral developments.

Delany’s active involvement in abolitionist activities began in 1843. Two key developments underscored both his growing maturity and commitment to the black struggle. The first was his marriage in 1843 to Catherine A. Richards, the mulatto daughter of Charles Richards and granddaughter of the wealthy realtor and butcher Ben Richards. This union secured for Delany a connection to the economic elite of black Pittsburgh.42 He and Catherine had eleven children, seven of whom survived. Second, that same year, perhaps in response to John Russwurm’s call for blacks to “plead our cause,” Delany began publishing his own newspaper, the Pittsburgh Mystery, giving clear indication that he understood and appreciated the power of the media and its potential as a tool in the abolitionist struggle.43 Subscription sold for $1.50 annually, and more than a thousand initial copies sold in Pittsburgh alone. Delany had agents in towns and cities in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Massachusetts, New York, Virginia, Iowa, and Illinois.44 During its brief existence, the Mystery lit the (p.16) fires of antislavery and kept the flames alive and burning with its scathing editorials and criticisms of slavery. Despite its short lifespan, the paper profoundly impacted the antislavery cause and garnered accolades and commendations from the black community. At a meeting in Shiloh Baptist Church in Philadelphia in July 1846, delegates acknowledged the Mystery as “a powerful instrument in effecting the social and political disenthralment and elevation of blacks.”45 In Pittsburgh the black community rallied around the paper. Each winter ladies held fundraising soirees, and in the summer they organized picnics and festivals, with the proceeds going to the Mystery. Praises for the paper also came from the White press. Papers such as the Pennsylvania Freeman, the Chronicle, and the Annual Business Directory acknowledged Delany’s ability and the noble deeds of his paper for the black community.46 In 1847 the African Methodist Episcopal Church bought the paper and renamed it the Christian Herald. In 1852 the paper’s operations were moved to Philadelphia, and it was renamed the Christian Recorder.47

In 1847 Frederick Douglass visited Pittsburgh and solicited Delany’s services to help start, coedit, and lecture for the North Star. Delany agreed, and thus his career took on a much more expansive scope. He relocated to Rochester, New York, and spent the next two years as a roving lecturer, propagating antislavery and moral suasion ideas to free black communities in the West, Midwest, and North. His tours brought him face-to-face with some of the critical problems and challenges of blacks which he highlighted in his periodic reports in the North Star.48 His moral suasionist crusade entailed exposing the evils of slavery and educating blacks on strategies for self-improvement, education, and moral reform.

Delany was bitterly critical of slavery and discrimination in his antislavery meetings and lectures. His lectures highlighted strategies for social, economic, and moral improvements. He was convinced that the more blacks improved themselves, the more likely it was that white society would concede their rights and privileges. His activities, however, provoked conflicting reactions both within black communities and among whites. Many blacks appreciated and commended his efforts. Others, particularly within the religious community, objected strongly to the this-worldly emphasis of his antislavery activities.49 Among whites, Delany earned some support and sympathy but also strong opposition, even hostility. But he would not be deterred. He developed a reputation as a conscientious black leader focused on the advancement of his race.

By the late 1840s, it was clear that moral suasion was not sufficient to change white society’s view of blacks. Although Delany discovered ample evidence of black industry, self-development, and moral improvement, the dominant society responded negatively and violently. In fact, Philadelphia in the 1840s (p.17) has been referred to as the race riot capital of the country. Industrious and economically successful blacks and institutional manifestations of black industry and progress such as churches and cooperative and fraternal societies became targets of racial violence.50 This reality and subsequent political developments in the early 1850s, specifically the Compromise of 1850 and the Fugitive Slave Act, convinced Delany of the depth and pervasiveness of racism. These developments undermined his faith in moral suasion and the malleability of American society.51 But Delany was not alone in reaching this conclusion. There was a growing concern among blacks in the late 1840s that no amount of moral reform would change America. As the “Colored Citizens” of Pennsylvania underlined in their 1848 “Appeal” to the Commonwealth,

The barrier that deprives us of the rights which you enjoy finds no palliative in merit—no consolation in piety—no hope in intellectual and moral pursuits—no reward in industry and enterprise … we may exhaust our midnight lamps in the prosecution of study, and be denied the privileges of the forum—we may be embellishing the nation’s literature by our pursuits in science—the preceptors of a Newton in astronomy—the dictators of Philosophy to Locke or a Bacon—the masters of a Montesquieu or a Blackstone on Civil and international law—or could we equal the founder of Christianity in the purity of our lives … yet with all these exalted virtues we could not possess the privileges you enjoy in Pennsylvania, because we are not “white.”52

Delany fully concurred. With the apparent failure of moral suasion and what he discerned as a pervasive and seemingly indestructible culture of racism, he gave up on the country and began to advocate emigration. For other blacks, however (including such prominent figures as Frederick Douglass), the best strategic response called for intensified integrative initiatives and efforts. With the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, Delany assumed leadership of the emigration movement. He became convinced that America was irredeemably racist and that blacks would never secure justice. He embarked upon a course that soon became the defining essence of his life and struggles: emigration.53 Delany saw no viable alternative to an externally situated and independent black nationality. Due to his emigration ideas and activities, Delany quickly developed an enduring reputation as a separatist.

Delany expatiated his emigration and nationalist arguments in two key publications: The Condition, Elevation, Emigration, and Destiny of the Colored People of the United States (1852) and “Political Destiny of the Colored Race on the American Continent” (1854). In these publications, he addressed the anguish, disappointments, and frustrations of blacks who had become (p.18) disillusioned and were desperately searching for an alternative nationality.54 In 1854 Delany helped convene and organize a National Emigration Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. Delegates from different parts of the country assembled to brainstorm on the challenges confronting blacks and discuss prospects for emigration. It was before this gathering that Delany delivered his four-hour address titled “Political Destiny,” in which he argued passionately and fervently for an independent black nationality. The convention set up a National Board of Commissioners to function as a coordinating body, with subcommittees on foreign, financial, and domestic relations. Delany was appointed the board’s first president, in which capacity he began corresponding with foreign governments in Central and South America. In two subsequent presidential reports, Delany reaffirmed the imperative of emigration. He discerned a nationwide consensus on black inferiority, and on the basis of that consensus he predicted the imminent nationalization of slavery. He opined that slavery would cease to be sectional. All political indicators, he believed (referencing the Fugitive Slave Act), portended this gloomy future for blacks. Emigration was the path to a viable future.55

In 1856 Delany moved to Chatham, Canada West. Two years later, under the auspices of the National Board of Commissioners, he embarked upon an investigatory and exploratory journey to Africa. He traveled extensively in the Niger Valley of West Africa, visiting such countries as Liberia and Nigeria, to investigate prospects for the projected black nationality. He discovered a hospitable and welcoming environment and people. Africa, he quickly concluded, possessed all the requisites for a black nationality in the forms of abundant land, resources, and manpower.56 He was highly impressed and elated. He returned to the United States late in 1860; his emigration convictions strengthened and reinforced. Delany publicly declared his determination to relocate to Africa and launched a nationwide lecture to publicize his findings and galvanize support for emigration.57 But the seductive force of the gathering storms of the Civil War proved irresistible and compelling. Like other leading blacks, Delany could not ignore the fact that slavery had become a divisive force among whites. The prospect for genuine freedom and equality for blacks had never seemed brighter. Given this development, emigration now seemed ill-advised. Delany promptly abandoned emigration and joined Frederick Douglass, Henry H. Garnet, and other black leaders in pursuit of integration. He thrust himself to the forefront, urging blacks to embrace the Civil War as the path to genuine freedom and equality.

The Civil War became for Delany and other black leaders a means to the elusive American Dream. The war marked a turning point in Delany’s career. It transformed him from a pessimist who had once lost all hope in (p.19) the malleability of America to an optimist whose enthusiasm and faith in America’s future seemed boundless. The war, in fact, inaugurated arguably the most significant and accomplished phase of his public life. As had Douglass and Garnet, Delany sought and secured an audience with President Abraham Lincoln, during which he argued fervently for black enlistment and for the adoption of emancipation as a war strategy. He insisted that such a policy would result in a speedy defeat of the rebellion. In recognition of Delany’s efforts, Lincoln recommended his commissioning into the Union Army as the first black combat major. Delany gladly accepted the honor and moved his family from Canada to the United States, settling his wife, Catherine, and the children in Xenia, Ohio. He became actively engaged in recruiting several Colored regiments, including the Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts Regiment, the Rhode Island Heavy Artillery, and the 104th and 105th US Colored Troops. In his recruitment posters, Delany urged blacks to enlist, once again demonstrate their patriotism and loyalty to the nation, and contribute to securing their long-elusive freedom.58

Delany’s combat abilities were never tested because the Civil War ended shortly after his commissioning. In fact, his military service lasted less than six months. After the war, he was assigned to the newly established Freedmen’s Bureau as sub-assistant commissioner and posted to Hilton Head, South Carolina, where he was charged with the supervision and management of twenty-one government owned plantations that were acquired back in 1863 when they were auctioned for nonpayment of US direct tax. He was also responsible for the welfare of the freedmen on the plantations, overseeing issues such as health, education, labor, contracts, and productive activities.59 Delany served as a Freedmen’s Bureau agent from 1865 to the demise of the institution in 1868. His performance as bureau agent was most exemplary, considering the comments and commendations of his peers and superior officers. After the termination of his bureau agency, Delany became actively involved in politics in South Carolina.

Delany’s political activities in South Carolina bore the imprints of the paradox of his earlier career, resulting in some of the greatest political challenges and trials of his life. As did most other blacks, he began his political career within the Republican Party: the party of Abraham Lincoln, the emancipator! But his loyalty to the party was not unconditional and absolute. Delany adduced a utilitarian conception of politics that tied political loyalty and affiliation to utilitarian factors, as opposed to ideological, doctrinal, or racial considerations. As he once declared, “Politics are intended for the benefit of the people.”60 Political loyalty, he insinuated, should be determined by the degree to which a party satisfied the needs of its membership for sustenance (p.20) and survival.61 In Delany’s judgment, regardless of ideological or racial considerations, a party that failed to provide its members access to the means of sustenance and proved incapable of guaranteeing their physical and economic survival did not deserve their unswerving loyalty. With this conviction, Delany constantly challenged what he saw as the corrupt, exploitative, and divisive policies of the ruling Republican Party.

Delany introduced into South Carolina politics a pragmatism that complicated what he characterized as the ideologically and racially driven platform and politics of the Republican Party and its black leadership supporters. He believed that the reforms of the Civil War and early Reconstruction era had fundamentally transformed American society. The Thirteenth Amendment had abolished slavery. The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments had granted blacks citizenship and equal protection of the law, and the franchise, respectively. Delany concluded that these changes, along with other Reconstruction reforms, had significantly revolutionized race relations by integrating blacks into the mainstream and transforming them from marginalized and subordinated to “an integral and essential part of the ruling elements of the nation.”62 What was most urgently needed, he stressed, was a reciprocal policy of reconciliation and appeasement toward the defeated and bitter southern whites (ex-slaveholders). To accomplish this, Delany urged the Republican Party to grant unconditional pardon and amnesty to former rebels and implored blacks also to seek the friendship and goodwill of southern whites.63

In fact, had death struck Delany in 1868, he most certainly would have died a happy man. After all, just under a decade and half before, he had predicted the imminent nationalization of slavery and had given up all hope, condemning America as irredeemably racist. These national concessions to black demands convinced Delany of the necessity for reciprocal concessions on the part of blacks, concessions that he defined in terms of political conservatism and appeasement of southern whites. For Delany, Reconstruction politics called essentially for a policy that would reconcile blacks with their erstwhile masters, who still controlled the economic levers of the state. Instead of reconciliation, Delany lamented that Radical Reconstruction had propelled blacks on a confrontational course by focusing on and encouraging black political rights and power. Radical Reconstruction was, in his view, a misguided and misdirected program. Delany believed that to empower blacks politically would alienate them from the state conservatives, whose goodwill and support were indispensable to blacks’ gaining access to the more critical economic resources and power.

Delany therefore proposed a pragmatic approach which entailed surrender of political power to whites in return for concessions of economic benefit. At a time when South Carolina conservatives were politically weakened, humbled, (p.21) and in desperate search for a political power base, Delany’s ideas offered them a much-needed existential corroboration and validation. It was reassuring for South Carolina conservatives to hear such ideas voiced by a black man! Thus, Delany gave conservatism a voice and respectability that had been both subdued and discredited by Radical Reconstruction. His ideas gave conservatism poignancy, substance, and credibility, at least in the judgment of Democrats and ex-Confederate defenders of the old order. Enthused and energized, they responded by trumpeting and referencing Delany’s ideas to corroborate their discredited and racist worldview. Delany would soon become a major force in the political rejuvenation of the conservative movement in South Carolina. Needless to say, the Republican Party and other black leaders rejected Delany’s policy of appeasement.

Delany’s persistent opposition to Radical Reconstruction alienated many within the Republican Party. Radical Republicans (black and white) became deeply suspicious of his motives, as his ideas reflected more the conservative themes of the erstwhile slave owners and the Democratic Party. He soon attained a pariah status within the Republican Party, and by the mid-1870s, his membership in the party had become untenable. Despised and distrusted, Delany found himself denied access to positions of political responsibility. Unlike other blacks who held positions of power, influence, and responsibility and, therefore, had access to the spoils of office, Delany was largely confined to the status of an outside agitator. In 1874 he joined a coalition of conservatives, ex-Confederates, and “liberal” Republicans to launch the Independent Republican Movement aimed at toppling Radical Republicans from political power and redirecting state politics along a conciliatory and conservative course. The IRM challenge however failed as the Radical Republicans won the election.64 The movement fizzled shortly after the election, and with no viable political base, Delany had no choice but to return, like the biblical prodigal son, to the fold of a party he had rejected and disparaged: the Republican Party.

His relationship with the Republican Party remained strained and fragile. However, one unanticipated occurrence was Republican governor Daniel Chamberlain’s appointment of Delany as trial justice for Ward 3 of the City of Charleston.65 As counterintuitive as it seemed, Chamberlain’s decision was consistent with his campaign pledge to fight corruption by appointing to office only those he deemed honest and efficient. Delany’s appointment, however, did not receive the blessing of Radical Republican stalwarts, who had grown bitterly resentful of his conservative ideas and strategies. Neither did the appointment mellow Delany. He remained adamantly and bitterly critical of and opposed to black political power. He accused black politicians of ignorance and corruption. In the ensuing 1875 municipal election in Charleston, Delany vigorously (p.22) opposed a proposal to field a black candidate for mayor because, according to him, the corruption and excesses of black politicians statewide had tainted and tarnished the reputation of South Carolina. He urged Charlestonians to continue their tradition of white mayors and campaigned vigorously against radical candidates.66 Delany’s anti-radical tirades and activities created such a deep resentment within the Republican Party that he began to anticipate retaliatory conspiracy. In 1875 this conspiracy came in the form of a grand larceny lawsuit. He went through a trial that he characterized as a charade contrived primarily to punish him for his persistent opposition to radical policies. He was found guilty and sentenced to twelve months in the penitentiary. Pending decision on his appeal, Delany was set free but relieved of his trial justice post.67

Although Chamberlain eventually pardoned Delany, the trial and conviction irreversibly tarnished his reputation. He remained essentially alienated and isolated from the orbit of political power and felt victimized and constantly dodged by radical conspirators, whom he accused of attempting to impose the ultimate punishment upon him: death. As he reported to his friend Frederick Douglass, “Crush me to earth, they were determined upon, and all because I could not be used, was above their influence, and would as I ever shall, oppose dishonesty, corruption and imposition upon the people’s rights.”68 Continued membership in the Republican Party therefore seemed once again untenable. By 1876 Delany had formally declared for the Democratic Party and assumed a pivotal role in the political resurgence of the party.69 The conservative media hailed this development and quickly absorbed Delany into its campaign apparatus. The Democrats had adopted a “liberal” platform that included a pledge to respect the political rights of blacks and to protect them in the exercise of those rights. This was certainly not the old antebellum proslavery party! Or was it?

Delany stormed the campaign trail on behalf of the Democrats and their gubernatorial candidate, Wade Hampton. There was a familiar ring to his campaign speeches. He urged blacks to abandon the Republican Party and seek reconciliation with their former slave masters. Delany opined that the Democratic Party platform offered everything blacks demanded. Consequently, he advocated giving the Democrats a chance. He was convinced that Democrats had changed and would uphold the liberal promises of their platform. He accused Radical Republicans of exploiting blacks to advance their narrow political agenda. He insisted that the platform of the Democratic Party held greater prospect for the economic development and empowerment of blacks.70 His campaign activities and speeches further infuriated and alienated blacks. Many wondered if this was the same Delany of the antebellum era who had inspired fear in whites and the proslavery establishment, if this was indeed the same individual who once unfurled the banner of militant Black Nationalism and (p.23) separatism. Blacks reacted with frustration and anger, resulting in a violent and deadly attack that left six whites dead and one black injured at a campaign rally in Cainhoy, South Carolina, in October 1876. Delany narrowly escaped death.71 Democrats won the epochal 1876 election, effectively terminating Radical Reconstruction, and restored the ancien régime to political power in South Carolina. Would the Democrats keep their campaign promise and pledge? Or would their return to political power portend reversal and circumscription of black political and civil rights?

Delany’s precise role in and contributions to the restoration of Democratic Party rule in South Carolina remain the subject of speculation. Whatever the case, Delany undoubtedly benefited from the Democratic victory. He was among a few notable black Democrats that Governor Wade Hampton rewarded with political appointments after the election: he was restored to his trial justice post in Charleston.72 Unfortunately, Delany’s rapprochement with the state conservatives was short-lived. The romance lost its steam just as quickly as it had begun. It became clear that the Democrats had not been sincere in their liberal promises. It dawned on many that the “liberal” platform of the Democrats was just a campaign ploy and that they never intended to respect the political rights of blacks. Under pressure from the triumphant ultraconservative wing of the party, Hampton soon relieved Delany of his trial justice post.73 The ultraconservatives, or Redeemers as they fondly called themselves, unleashed a reign of terror on blacks, especially prominent and ambitious blacks whose actions seemed to be challenging, directly or indirectly, the status quo of white supremacy.74

Betrayed by the Democrats and distrusted by the Republicans, Delany seemed caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. For a brief period he donned his old emigration robes and became actively involved in the new Liberian exodus movement that developed among blacks in South Carolina.75 His emigration aspirations reignited, by the early 1880s Delany began corresponding with key officials of the American Colonization Society, soliciting their assistance for emigration.76 There are no indications that he received any tangible supports from the society. This latter phase of his nationality dream quickly fizzled. Broken, frustrated, chronically unemployed, helpless, and shadowed by what he termed “the chicanery of wily politicians” determined to destroy him due to his anti-radical political views, Delany turned to the one and only place left where he felt he could receive the comfort, consolation, and reassurance he so desperately needed: Xenia, Ohio, his wife Catherine, and the children. Unfortunately, the struggles had been both emotionally and physically taxing. According to a local Xenia newspaper, the Delany that returned in late 1884 was emotionally and psychologically a broken man.77 He died on January 24, 1885.

Notes:

(1.) August Meier, “Afterword: New Perspectives on the Nature of Black Political Leadership during Reconstruction,” in Rabinowitz, Southern Black Leaders of the Reconstruction Era, 393–406.

(3.) North Star, June 16, 1848, emphasis added.

(4.) North Star, June 2, 1848.

(7.) Liberator, May 7, 1852.

(8.) Nelson T. Grant to F. L. LeMoyne, June 4, 1847, Margaret C. McCulloch Papers, 1822–1875, box 4, folder 2, Amistad Research Center, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana.

(9.) William H. Burleigh to F. L. LeMoyne, June 29, 1841, McCulloch Papers.

(10.) William M. Shim to Rev. Geo. Whipper, June 26, 1858, American Missionary Association Papers, Amistad Research Center, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana.

(11.) Edward M. Stoeber to Brevt. Major S. M. Taylor, July 28, 1865, Record Group 105, Letters Received, Assistant Commissioner, South Carolina, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC.

(12.) News and Courier (Charleston), October 5, 1874.

(13.) News and Courier (Charleston), October 24, 1874.

(14.) Theodore Draper, “The Father of Black American Nationalism,” New York Times Review of Books, March 12, 1970. See also his The Rediscovery of Black Nationalism.

(16.) Meier, “Afterword,” 402.

(18.) Peter Walker, Moral Choices: Memory, Desire and Imagination in Nineteenth Century American Abolitionism (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1978).

(19.) Walker, 222. This practice is also reflected in some of the early biographies of Frederick Douglass. See Foner, Frederick Douglass; and Benjamin Quarles, Frederick Douglass (New York: Atheneum, 1967).

(28.) See these reports in North Star, March 3, April 14, May 26, April 7 and 28, June 9, June 16, August 4, 1848, and February 16, June 15, July 6, 1849.

(29.) Martin R. Delany, “A Political Review,” Daily Republican (Charleston), August 15, 1871, emphasis added.

(p.25) (31.) Davis.

(45.) Pennsylvania Freeman, August 20, 1846, 3.

(47.) See “Introduction,” in Christian Recorder (microfilm), Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church Prints, July 13, 1854–June 29, 1865, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary Library, Evanston, IL.

(48.) See these reports in North Star, March 3, April 14, May 26, April 7, 28, June 9, June 16, August 4, 1848, and February 16, June 15, July 6, 1849.

(51.) Martin R. Delany, “National Disfranchisement of Colored People,” in his Condition, Elevation, Emigration, and Destiny, 147–58.

(52.) “Minutes of the State Convention of the Colored Citizens of Pennsylvania Convened At Harrisburg, December 13th and 14th, 1848,” in Proceedings of the Black State Conventions, 1840–1865, vol. 1, ed. Philip S. Foner and George E. Walker (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1979), 124.

(54.) Delany, Condition, Elevation, Emigration, and Destiny. See also his “Political Destiny of the Colored Race on the American Continent,” in Rollin, Life and Public Services, 327–67.

(55.) Martin R. Delany, “Political Aspect of the Colored People in the United States,” Provincial Freeman, October 13, 1855; Martin R. Delany, “Political Events,” Provincial Freeman, July 5, 1856.

(57.) S. N. Geers, “Brooklyn Affairs,” Weekly Anglo-African, November 2, 1861; “Dr. M. R. Delany,” Douglass’ Monthly, August 1862; Delany, “Moral and Social Aspect.”

(59.) Rollin, chapter 28; Martin, “Dear Sister,” 43, 101; Elizabeth A. Summers (1844–1900) 11, mss., 24 April–15 June 1867, South Caroliniana Research Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia.

(60.) News and Courier (Charleston), October 16, 1874.

(61.) Daily Republican (Charleston), July 5, 1870, July 15, 1870; News and Courier (Charleston), October 7, 1874.

(62.) Martin Delany to Rev. Henry H. Garnet, Hilton Head Island, July 27, 1867, in Delany, Trial and Conviction, 4–5.

(66.) Martin Delany, “Seventh Offense,” in his Trial and Conviction, 10.

(67.) Delany, 15–16; News and Courier (Charleston), March 23, 1876, 2.

(70.) Daily Register (Columbia), September 28, 1876; News and Courier (Charleston), September 19, 1876, 4; October 4, 1876, 4; October 13, 1876, 4; October 14, 1876, 4.

(71.) News and Courier (Charleston), October 1, 1876, 3; October 17 and 18, 1876; Henry T. Thompson, Ousting the Carpetbaggers from South Carolina (New York: Negro University Press, 1926), 120.

(74.) Belton O. Townsend, “The Result in South Carolina,” Atlantic Monthly 41 (January 1878); 2–3.

(75.) Sterling, Making of an Afro-American, chapter 25; News and Courier (Charleston), July 16, 1877, July 16, 1878.

(76.) Martin Delany to H. R. Latrobe, President, American Colonization Society, Charleston, South Carolina, July 8, 1878; Delany to William Coppinger, Charleston, South Carolina, August 18, 1880; Delany to William Coppinger, Charleston, South Carolina, December 18, 1880, American Colonization Society Papers, Library of Congress, Washington, DC.

(77.) Xenia (OH) Gazette, January 7, 1885.