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Between the Revolution and the Civil War, African-American writing became a prominent feature of both black protest culture and American public life. Although denied a political voice in national affairs, black authors produced a wide range of literature to project their views into the public sphere. Autobiographies and personal narratives told of slavery's horrors, newspapers railed against racism in its various forms, and poetry, novellas, reprinted sermons and speeches told tales of racial uplift and redemption.
The editors examine the important and previously overlooked pamphleteering tradition and offer new insights into how and why the printed word became so important to black activists during this critical period. An introduction by the editors situates the pamphlets in their various social, economic and political contexts. This is the first book to capture the depth of black print culture before the Civil War by examining perhaps its most important form, the pamphlet.