Elizabeth Rauh Bethel. The Roots of African-American Identity: Memory and History in Free Antebellum Communities. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1997. xiii + 242 pp. $29.95 (paper), ISBN 978-0-312-21836-2; $79.95 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-312-12860-9.
Reviewed by Mitch Kachun (Southeast Community College, Lincoln, Nebraska)
Published on H-SHEAR (January, 1999)
Constructing a Tradition, Inventing a People
Elizabeth Rauh Bethel's The Roots of African-American Identity is a thought-provoking work that raises important questions relating to the construction of historical memory and collective identity, black Americans' sense of place within the African Diaspora, and the early phases of blacks' struggle for civil and political rights in the United States. This is the first book-length analysis dealing explicitly with the crucial interactions of memory, history, and identity among black Americans, and that alone makes it a significant and exciting contribution to the fields of memory studies and African American history. Bethel presents penetrating insights that frequently inspired this reader to inscribe an enthusiastic "Yes!" in the margins. At the same time, while the book's premise and general argument are sound, I was often frustrated by significant weaknesses in emphasis, interpretation, and documentation.
The slim volume is comprised of a Prologue, seven chapters, and an Epilogue, with the chapters divided among three discrete sections "arranged in a loose chronological form" (p. vii). Bethel's focus is on free blacks' uses of history and memory in crafting a "uniquely New World ethnic identity that informed [a] popular African-American historical consciousness" which, she argues, provided the ideological and institutional foundations for twentieth-century Pan-Africanism and the modern Civil Rights Movement. For black Americans between the Revolution and the Civil War, the construction of historical consciousness and identity centered on the dialectic at work between their claims to Americanness and their existence as a distinct group, with a shared African heritage and a shared experience of oppression in their American environment. Bethel sees the central tension of this double-consciousness being informed by several key developments during the early national period: the receding "lived" memories of the African ancestral homeland, the promise of freedom inherent in the abolition of the Atlantic slave trade and gradual emancipation in the northern states, and the model of New World political agency and autonomy provided by the Haitian revolution.
In assessing African Americans' appropriation of these seminal developments, Bethel distinguishes between personal, "lived" memories--"individualized and autobiographical rememberings of particular events"--and "corporate," or generational, memory--collective representations of the past, not based primarily on personal recollections, which each generation constructs in relation to its own social and political context. Indeed, the book is explicitly "about the transition" among antebellum African American activists from personal to corporate memory, and the extent to which "the collective representations around which corporate memory revolved ... fueled collective efforts to claim and live a promised but undelivered democratic freedom" in the United States (p. vii).
The Prologue introduces these main themes of the book by examining, in considerable detail, Boston blacks' 1858 Commemorative Festival observing the anniversaries of both the March 5, 1770, martyrdom of Crispus Attucks during the Boston Massacre and the March 5, 1857, Supreme Court decision in the Dred Scott case. These historic events framed blacks' experiences in the American republic, and black festival organizers consciously manipulated their calendrical concurrence in order to fashion an ironic interpretation of antebellum African Americans' status in the United States. Attucks, of course, demonstrated blacks' patriotism and symbolized the promise of the Revolutionary era; Scott represented the "tragic failure" of the nation to fully implement its democratic ethos and embodied the disturbing realities faced by African Americans on the eve of the Civil War. Bethel uses this commemoration quite effectively "to explore the connection between cultural memory and popular historical consciousness and to illustrate the crucial role opinion leaders play in the construction of both memory and consciousness" (p. viii).
Throughout the book, Bethel does a fine job of introducing her readers, mainly through footnotes, to many of the leaders she discusses. In the Prologue, the two centrally symbolic figures are long-time Boston activist John T. Hilton and his much younger counterpart, William C. Nell, an activist/historian who was responsible for defining the historical meaning of the 1858 commemoration. Hilton was a Revolutionary veteran and had clear personal memories not only of the war, but also of blacks' nineteenth century freedom struggle. Nell, Hilton's junior by some thirty years, represents a new generation of black leaders who lacked the personal recollections of a John Hilton; Nell and his cohort "sought to transform [their forebears'] autobiographical and fundamentally private legacies into a national, public consciousness" (p. 4). These two men, and the festival itself, thus embody for Bethel "the African-American intellectual journey from an individually lived to a collectively remembered past" (p. 24) which, in turn, was used to "reconcile the paradox of African ancestry combined with New World nativity" (p. 25).
In focusing on the shift from "lived" to collectively constructed memory, and in identifying the events commemorated at the 1858 fete as lieux de memoire, Bethel acknowledges her debt to Pierre Nora, whose pioneering work on history and memory has informed much of the recent American scholarship in the field. (I failed to find reference to any of the relevant works in Bethel's book, a puzzling omission that reflects the author's general failure to provide adequate citations of secondary sources in a number of areas.) Roughly translated as "sites of memory," Nora's lieux denote moments in history that are infused with particular meanings by societies or groups that use those moments as touchstones of their collective history and identity. Bethel, like many scholars of historical and collective memory, embraces Nora's terms and ideas rather uncritically, and without a thorough explanation of how they inform her own analysis. Nora draws a sharp dichotomy--echoed in Bethel's subtitle--between personal memory that is supposedly unmediated and therefore authentic, and consciously constructed archival history, the result of a modern proclivity for creating tangible repositories (e.g., monuments, archives, written histories) that concretize a society's past. Both Nora and Bethel rightly call attention to the tendency in post-Enlightenment Western societies to create fixed, and often politically sanctioned, historical interpretations linked to discernible storehouses of memory. However, Nora's notion, which Bethel seems to accept, that personal memories are unmediated does not adequately consider the selective and constructed nature of all memories, personal or collective. Moreover, it is in error to suggest that the creation of tangible repositories completely displaced other forms of cultural remembering.
Bethel's discussion of African Americans' antebellum "freedom festivals" illustrates the blurry edges between personal/ephemeral memory and collective/objectified memory. The 1858 commemoration, Bethel rightly notes, was the inheritor of "a long-standing African-American celebratory tradition" (p. 4) which presented in the American public sphere "intentional and conscious rearrangements of the national calendar aimed to transform and reinvent the national past" (p. 6). Bethel points out that the Boston affair was unlike many antislavery meetings in two vital respects. First, it was "organized and carried out by African Americans" rather than white abolitionists. Second, it was not primarily a protest against slavery, but rather was "designed specifically to revise and expand the myth of the nation's beginnings in such a fashion as to include African Americans." In these important respects it rested firmly on an African American commemorative tradition with deep roots in northern black communities.
Beginning in 1808, blacks in Boston, Philadelphia, and New York celebrated the abolition of the Atlantic slave trade in annual observances that included orations, sermons, and, frequently, public processions. By the 1820s, these events had been largely discontinued, but were replaced by the celebration of the July 4, 1827, date of New York State emancipation, and, after 1834, August 1 commemorations of the emancipation of slaves in the British West Indies. These celebrations were partly protests against blacks' exclusion from white July 4 affairs, but were primarily assertions of a distinctive, black-centered sense of history and identity. As Bethel notes throughout the book, blacks' sense of identity was always ambivalent, and these commemorations "attempted to reconcile the fundamental paradox of an identity of self and consciousness of others that derived from African ancestry combined with residence in the New World" (p. 7).
Bethel does well to acknowledge these freedom festivals. Still, her treatment of public commemorations is troubling in a number of respects. Her brief discussion of both white July 4 celebrations and black freedom festivals is largely on target, but again citations of secondary sources are almost nonexistent. Bethel mentions Leonard Sweet's fine article on blacks and the Fourth of July, and an unpublished paper on African American commemorations by Genevieve Fabre, but includes no other citations relating to black celebrations, and none whatsoever on white commemorations. Clearly aware of the role played by large, public commemorations, Bethel makes the salient observation that, "In an age when literacy was limited and mass communication media primitive, the ritual and oratory embedded in public gatherings contained deep political and cultural significance for Americans of both European and African descent" (p. 3). But the brevity of Bethel's treatment of the freedom festivals masks those events' centrality to blacks' quest to define their history and identity during the antebellum decades. August 1 commemorations were widespread and extremely visible public rituals across the antebellum North, and they continued to anchor an expanding African American commemorative tradition well after the United States abolished slavery in 1865. Despite her insightful analyses of the 1858 festival and early slave trade commemorations (in a later chapter), Bethel, like Nora, seems to value written histories over public ritual and oral tradition in terms of their relative importance in constructing collective historical memory and identity. I think this dichotomy is a false one which obscures the role public ritual continued to play in this process well after the appearance of tangible archives, texts, monuments, and formal institutions of memory. Using Nora's terminology, one could argue that these commemorations themselves became meaningful lieux de memoire for postbellum black activists. Their continued significance through the late nineteenth century indicates that these relatively intangible commemorations complemented, and were not completely replaced by, more institutional repositories of memory and history that were emerging during that era.
After the Prologue, Bethel turns to the chronological beginnings of the intellectual transition she traces. Part One, "Fashioning a Moral Community, 1775-1800," focuses on the early stages of gradual emancipation and community formation in the North. The experiences and expectations of black revolutionary veterans, the development of racially defined institutions in northern cities, and the development of a "theology of liberation" contributed to "an intersection of the physical and the spiritual in the creation of the moral community that would inform both corporate memory and collective action in subsequent decades" (pp. viii-ix). Bethel's attention to the "moral community" that was emerging throughout the black North is appropriate. There developed a common set of values among black activists which emphasized moral rectitude, Christian virtue, industry, frugality, modesty, and, in general, respectability. I am troubled, however, by Bethel's attempts, in this section and throughout the book, to identify the members of this community. Bethel notes the difficulties in ascribing class labels within the African American community, but her references are limited and extremely dated. Moreover, after suggesting the complexity of the issue, she reverts to a simplistic dichotomy between "elite and popular classes" (p. 55) and implies that the "elite" alone comprised the moral community. This oversimplified division of the black community is rendered even less clear by the use of several terms--elite (pp. 55, 65, 129), middle-class (pp. 55, 62), bourgeois (p. 64)--interchangeably to refer to the members of the moral community. Casual use of such vague terms perpetuates the simplistic notion of an elite/popular split, and of an ill-defined "black elite" driving nineteenth century activism. Several important recent works addressing the formation of a moral community and the non-elite role in antebellum activism might have informed Bethel's consideration of these issues; her failure to mention them is indicative of a disturbing pattern of lack of references to relevant recent scholarship on numerous topics.
Part One also introduces Bethel's interpretation of the diasporic consciousness that was developing among African Americans in the early nineteenth century as they sought to expand their moral community beyond national boundaries. This crucial component of African American identity and activism is often muted in American historians' discussions, and Bethel is to be applauded for accentuating the "irrevocable transnational impulse" (p. 76) that infused African Americans' attempts to reconcile the paradox of their collective identity. Bethel focuses on emigration in her efforts to call attention to the material, emotional, and intellectual connections among African peoples throughout the Atlantic world. Most historical accounts of nineteenth century emigration emphasize blacks' sense of Americanness, their overwhelming opposition to colonization, and the relatively small number of actual black migrants. One of Bethel's most important contributions is to call attention to the diasporic historical consciousness that evolved in spite of these realities.
In making this point, however, Bethel issues some questionable statements regarding the magnitude of black migration. Several times she claims that "between 1820 and 1860, 20 percent of the free African-American population quit the United States to establish new lives in Liberia, Haiti, the British West Indies, and Canada" (p. 76, also pp. ix, 141, 145). This statistic is usually followed by rather vague citations of Rodney Carlisle's The Roots of Black Nationalism (1975) and/or Theodore Draper's The Rediscovery of Black Nationalism (1970). In my attempt to find support for what seemed an astoundingly high figure, I consulted those texts along with other standard works by Floyd Miller and P.J. Staudenraus. Bethel and I come up with similar approximate figures for the numbers of migrants: about 60,000 to Canada and between ten and fifteen thousand each to Liberia and Haiti, for a total of about 85,000 migrants during the forty years before 1860. If we use the 1860 census numbers for the free black population (488,000), the 85,000 estimate reflects 17.5 percent of that figure. Close to 20 percent. However, it seems to me inaccurate and misleading to calculate a percentage for forty years of migration based on the population figure only for the final year of that time span. The 20 percent figure drastically overstates the extent of emigration, especially when one considers the thousands who returned to the United States after difficult and frustrating experiences abroad. Of course, this return migration bolsters Bethel's larger argument, with which I concur, for African Americans' sustained attention to and interaction with African peoples throughout the Atlantic world during the nineteenth century. Perhaps H-SHEAR readers more statistically adept than I might provide some clarification on the use of statistics in this matter.
Part Two of the book, "Environments of Memory, 1800-1835," investigates two key components of blacks' emerging diasporic consciousness: the end of the Atlantic slave trade and the Haitian revolution. Combined with fading and "romanticized images of Africa as a lost homeland" (p. 81), African Americans appropriated these developments to invent and solidify a shared African-based identity which involved "a fundamental reinterpretation of contemporary events" (p. 85). Offering valuable insight into the construction of both this identity and a historical tradition, Bethel recognizes the crucial role played by northern free blacks' observances of the end of the Atlantic Slave Trade. Beginning January 1, 1808, blacks' public commemorative "oratory and ritual constructed a culturally significant memory of an invented common past." Slave trade commemorations provided "a vehicle for forging a politicized consciousness" that would inform subsequent generations of black historians and activists (p. 88). Moreover, Bethel argues, orators at these rituals explicitly set out to bridge the widening gulf between autobiographical memories of Africa and the civil rights activism of people of African descent carving out a place for themselves in the New World.
Black Americans' expectations of full equality were also stimulated by the establishment of a black republic in Haiti as of January 1, 1804. Indeed, the Haitian revolution "challenged the ideology of Anglo-European world supremacy" and "offered a resonant lieu de memoire" for black Americans (pp. 93-94). While I agree that African Americans found Haiti an extremely meaningful symbol, the specter of that bloody slave revolt instilled such fear among white Americans that blacks had to restrain any impulse to condone or associate themselves too closely with the violent establishment of the Haitian republic. Black Americans simply could not (and they did not) publicly celebrate the Haitian revolution as they did various other emancipatory events in the early nineteenth century. Bethel is certainly correct in her assessment of Haiti's significance, but she should have acknowledged the limits of that particular lieu's potential symbolic use in African Americans' public life.
As stated earlier, I also question the emphasis Bethel places on black emigration movements. I agree that elements of Pan-African thinking were taking shape among African American leaders, and emigration played a key role in maintaining diasporic connections beyond the nation's borders. But I would go even further and suggest that these transatlantic ties often transcended racial, as well as national, boundaries. To my thinking, the Pan-African connections were part of an even larger intellectual vision among African American leaders that was rooted in a deep concern with freedom movements around the world and throughout history. Their own American situation and the related experiences of others in the African Diaspora clearly took priority in their words and actions, but nineteenth century black intellectuals rarely failed to throw their support behind the cause of expanding freedom, whether relating to the Jews' Egyptian captivity, the Reform Bill in England, West Indian Emancipation, Irish nationalism, or the status of Russian serfs. Black leaders were children of the Diaspora, but they were also children of the Enlightenment. It is the fusion of the Enlightenment ideals of Freedom and Progress with the racially defined status of African peoples that drove African American leaders' historical interpretations and their activism.
Part Two closes with an interpretation of the 1829 Cincinnati Riot and the Convention Movement that it catalyzed. The riot was whites' violent reaction to a growing black presence in the booming river town, and stimulated many black Cincinnatians to quit the city and resettle in Canada. The initial point of the 1830 Convention in Philadelphia was to discuss the riot, the emigration, and their meaning for free blacks throughout the United States. Despite its explicit opposition to the schemes of the American Colonization Society, the Convention lent its support to the Canadian migration. Beyond that specific program, Bethel sees the early Convention Movement establishing both the "first mass African-American civil rights movement" (p. 124) and "the foundation of the twentieth-century Pan-African call for cultural reunification" (p. 129).
The first of these assertions is not new. But Bethel effectively utilizes this coalescence of a national movement to support her argument regarding the transition from autobiographical to collectively constructed historical memory. Black leaders a generation earlier had forged a shared diasporic identity out of the experience of racial slavery, early chinks in slavery's New World armor, and the fading memories of the African homeland. The leaders coming of age in the 1820s and 1830s had limited autobiographical memories of either Africa or slavery and were "less psychologically receptive to a collective past built entirely on enslavement than their parents had been ... As a result, this new generation confronted the future better informed of contemporary circumstances, better able to envision and debate alternatives to their disadvantaged condition, and better prepared to take collective action to achieve collective goals than any previous generation of African Americans" (p. 126). Their unequivocal assertion of an American identity and citizenship was built on both natural rights arguments and a half-century of patriotic service to the nation. A set of collectively constructed New World lieux from the revolutionary and early national eras thus helped shape the politicized New World racial identity and the activism of the antebellum generation's leadership. The Convention Movement's place in Pan-Africanism is less frequently recognized, but Bethel is convincing in arguing that Movement leaders directed much of their attention toward the experiences of blacks in Canada and Haiti and toward solidifying ties among those various transnational communities.
The final section of the book, Part Three, "History and the Politics of Memory, 1835-1860," begins, in Chapter Six, by comparing the Canadian and Haitian migrations. Bethel here extends her thesis regarding the role of emigration in solidifying a diasporic consciousness, arguing that "African Americans were concerned, even preoccupied, with emigration after 1835" and that this preoccupation firmly established the roots of Pan-Africanism that had been planted during the preceding decades (pp. ix-x).
In Chapter Seven and the Epilogue, Bethel examines several texts written between the 1840s and 1890s and comments on their role in constructing a popular historical consciousness among African Americans. The texts are unquestionably important ones: J.W.C. Pennington, Text-Book of the Origins and History of the Colored People (1841); William C. Nell, Colored Patriots of the American Revolution (1855); William Wells Brown, The Black Man: His Antecedents, His Achievements, and His Genius (1863); William Still, The Underground Railroad (1873); and Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Iola Leroy (1893). All of these texts are used to illustrate the finalization of the process through which historical memory among nineteenth century African Americans ceased to be rooted in personally lived experiences and instead came to be collectively constructed for the purpose of addressing particular political and ideological goals.
Bethel is absolutely correct in identifying black leaders' conscious efforts to construct a usable past that would serve the needs of a people throwing off the yoke of slavery and challenging their identification as an inferior and subordinate group in a racist society. These and other written works contributed to that cause. But once again I must question Bethel's choice, which I relate to her reliance on the theories of Pierre Nora, to focus only on written texts and to ignore the power and persistence of oral traditions and performed public rituals in working toward the same goals.
Bethel's proposed transition from autobiographical to collective memory was paralleled by a transition from orality toward literacy. In my mind, the former transition was neither as inexorably and unidirectionally progressive, nor as unequivocally complete, as Bethel suggests. Similarly, the movement toward expanding literacy that was of such concern to many prominent black leaders did not, during the nineteenth century, ever approach fully displacing the oral and visual traditions. Estimates of African American literacy rates at the time of Emancipation hover around ten percent. At least through the end of the century, the written word had a limited impact on most blacks' sense of history, identity, and political consciousness. Public commemorations retained their central role in black American public life and served important functions of education, social networking, and political mobilization for black communities across the nation. Autobiographical and collective memories, like oral and literary forms of information exchange, operated in concert, interpenetrating and overlapping each other in complex patterns. One of my greatest disappointments with The Roots of African-American Identity is its oversimplification of these processes relating to the nonliterate contributions to the development of nineteenth century African Americans' historical consciousness.
Beyond the major complaints I have with the book, there are numerous minor problems of editing, presentation, and accuracy. A few examples will suffice. On two occasions Bethel unequivocally, and without documentation, blames "white Americans" (p. 79) for having "murdered" (p. 176) black activist David Walker in 1830, when recent scholarship suggests that he may well have died of natural causes. On page 95 Bethel refers to the "five hundred thousand free African Americans in the United States" in late 1820s when in fact the figure was about 320,000, and would only exceed 500,000 after 1860. Twice Frances E.W. Harper is referred to as "Walker" (p. 180). And, in reference to postbellum freedom festivals, Bethel implies in the text (p. 6) and explicitly states in a footnote that after 1865 "African Americans universally" (p. 197, n.16) celebrated their emancipation on January 1. In fact, the observance of August 1 continued in some regions, and numerous other dates competed for pride of place on postbellum blacks' commemorative calendars, including January 1, April 16, September 22, June 19, and several others. One other point hardly a problem, but worth noting is that the book's title as listed on the cover and title page differs from the Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data, which lists, Under the Trees We Have Planted: Memory and History in the Antebellum Free African-American Community. This made for some confusion when I called a bookseller asking about the availability of The Roots of African-American Identity; they only had record of the book under the Library of Congress title.
Under any title, The Roots of African-American Identity is a thoughtful and provocative excavation into the complex, multilayered issues surrounding the construction of a distinctive collective historical consciousness among blacks in the nineteenth century. Bethel, a sociologist, apropos other discussions of cross-disciplinary scholarship on this list, admits to some trepidation in venturing into the historian^Òs realm for this study. Quite frankly, I'm not sure whether my disagreements with the author relate in any way to our different disciplinary orientations. In any case, despite my serious reservations about several questions of emphasis and interpretation, I want to end by underscoring the great value of this work, which breaks new ground in an extremely rich and as yet understudied field. First of all, Bethel offers an interpretation of African Americans' development of a diasporic consciousness that merits close scrutiny and consideration. There was an Atlantic world operating among both whites and blacks, and we would all do well to keep in mind these transnational perspectives in our studies of the United States. Second, she calls attention to the active construction of a historical consciousness that built upon personal memories but over time relied increasingly on invented African and American pasts whose contours were shaped by contemporary realities. Much in Bethel's analysis is on target, not least her identification of the antebellum decades as a period when African Americans in the North were "a people reaching for a new body of tradition" in the form of a "self-consciously constructed historical myth of a collectively 'remembered' past" (pp. 168, 169). Here we can examine the "invention of tradition" taking place among an increasingly literate people struggling for rights and inclusion under an oppressive political regime. Bethel's study has numerous shortcomings, but it provides a necessary context for other students of African American historical memory as we try to make sense of the complex process of a people laying claim to their identity and their history.
. Pierre Nora, "Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de Memoire," Representations, no. 26 (Spring 1989), 7-25. Nora's influence on American scholars of memory can be seen in two fine collections resulting from conferences: John R. Gillis, ed. Commemorations: The Politics of National Identity (Princeton, 1994); and Genevieve Fabre and Robert O'Meally, eds. History and Memory in African American Culture (New York, 1994). The latter volume explicitly orients itself around Nora and reprints his seminal essay. I found neither of these works in Bethel's notes. While I will curtail my critique of Nora and his influence, participants on H-SHEAR who are interested in memory studies might wish to use my comments as a springboard for further discussion.
. Leonard I. Sweet, "The Fourth of July and Black Americans in the Nineteenth Century: Northern Leadership Opinion within the Context of the Black Experience," Journal of Negro History, v. 61 (July, 1976), 256-75. Fabre's paper was the basis for her essay in the Fabre- and O'Meally-edited volume mentioned in note 1. Other relevant sources for black Freedom Day celebrations include, William B. Gravely, "The Dialectic of Double Consciousness in Black American Freedom Celebrations, 1808-1863," Journal of Negro History v. 67 (Winter, 1982), 302-317; Benjamin Quarles, Black Abolitionists (New York, 1969), 116-129; Detine Bowers, "A Strange Speech of an Estranged People: Theory and Practice of Antebellum Freedom Day Orations," (Ph.D. diss., Purdue University, 1992). A brief list of sources on white July 4 celebrations and early American nationalism might include Michael Kammen, Mystic Chords of Memory: The Transformation of Tradition in American Culture (New York, 1991); Robert Pettus Hay, "Freedom's Jubilee: A Hundred Years of the Fourth of July, 1776-1876" (Ph.D. diss., University of Kentucky, 1967); Diana Karter Applebaum, The Glorious Fourth: An American Holiday, an American History (New York, 1989). Another indispensable work addressing both black and white public celebrations, unavailable when Bethel's book went to press, is David Waldstreicher, In the Midst of Perpetual Fetes: The Making of American Nationalism, 1776-1820 (Chapel Hill, 1997).
. I offer my own analysis of the multiple, and shifting, functions of blacks' public commemorations and of the emergence of a distinctive African American sense of history in my dissertation, Mitchell Alan Kachun, "'The Faith That the Dark Past Has Taught Us': African-American Commemorations in the North and West and the Construction of a Usable Past, 1808-1915" (Ph.D. diss., Cornell University, 1997). To a large extent Bethel's work complements my own, though, obviously, we differ on certain issues.
. Bethel cites W.E.B. Du Bois The Philadelphia Negro (1899); E. Franklin Frazier, Black Bourgeoisie (1957); St. Clair Drake and Horace Cayton, Black Metropolis (1962).
. For example, David Swift, Black Prophets of Justice: Activist Clergy Before the Civil War (Baton Rouge, 1989); Nick Salvatore, We All Got History: The Memory Books of Amos Webber (New York, 1996); James Oliver Horton and Lois E. Horton, In Hope of Liberty: Culture, Community, and Protest Among Northern Free Blacks (New York, 1997). Bethel cites none of these works, though the Hortons' book doubtless appeared too late for her to include.
. Kachun, "'The Faith That the Dark Past Has Taught Us.'"
. Peter P. Hinks, To Awaken My Afflicted Brethren: David Walker and the Problem of Antebellum Slave Resistance (University Park, Pa., 1997), was the subject of an H-SHEAR review during the Spring of 1998.
. For a more thorough discussion of the rationale behind the various commemorative dates, see Kachun, "'The Faith That the Dark Past Has Taught Us.'"
Copyright (c) 1999 by H-Net, all rights reserved. This work may be copied for non-profit educational use if proper credit is given to the author and the list. For other permission, please contact H-Net@h-net.msu.edu.
If there is additional discussion of this review, you may access it through the network, at: https://networks.h-net.org/h-shear/.
Mitch Kachun. Review of Bethel, Elizabeth Rauh, The Roots of African-American Identity: Memory and History in Free Antebellum Communities.
H-SHEAR, H-Net Reviews.
Copyright © 1999 by H-Net, all rights reserved. H-Net permits the redistribution and reprinting of this work for nonprofit, educational purposes, with full and accurate attribution to the author, web location, date of publication, originating list, and H-Net: Humanities & Social Sciences Online. For any other proposed use, contact the Reviews editorial staff at email@example.com.