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His mother was self-emancipated; his father was freed by a New York law passed in 1827.

After his graduation, Smith returned to America and established two drugstores in New York City.

Dr. Smith became well-known for his pioneering work in the scientific study of race

 

 

The Works of James McCune Smith

 Black Intellectual and Abolitionist

By John Stauffer

 

The first African American to receive a medical degree, this invaluable collection brings together the writings of James McCune Smith, one of the foremost intellectuals in antebellum America. The Works of James McCune Smith  is one of the first anthologies featuring the works of this illustrious scholar. Perhaps best known for his introduction to Fredrick Douglass's My Bondage and My Freedom, his influence is still found in a number of aspects of modern society and social interactions. And he was considered by many to be a prophet of the twenty-first century. One of the earliest advocates of the use of "black" instead of "colored," McCune Smith treated racial identities as social constructions, arguing that American literature, music, and dance would be shaped and defined by blacks.

 

Organized chronologically, the collection covers over 40 years of writing, including speeches, letters, and essays, and begins with McCune Smith's first speech as an 11-year old boy to the Marquis de Lafayette. Providing historical context for McCune Smith's current cultural relevance, this book showcases writings on black education and self-help, citizenship, and the fight against racism.Publisher

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James McCune Smith (1813-1865), a dignified and highly trained physician, was the first university-trained black physician. After attending the Free African School of New York where he distinguished himself as a pupil he was helped by a clergyman to matriculate in the University of Glasgow. There he worked with the Glasgow Emancipation Society and completed his MD degree, graduating in 1837. Smith received from the University of Glasgow (Scotland) the A.B., M.A., and M.D. degrees.

His mother was self-emancipated; his father was freed by a New York law passed in 1827. After his graduation, Smith returned to America and established two drugstores in New York City.

Dr. Smith became well-known for his pioneering work in the scientific study of race and for the scholarly treatment of the slavery question. He was a prolific writer on the subject of racial equality and able speaker who fought against the deportation of the Negro.

With skills of a scholar and a knowledge of history, the sciences, languages and literature, he wrote on a remarkable range of subjects concerning the Negro. By his essays and articles, he sought to change attitudes toward the Negro and to direct sober thought to the question of the physical and moral equality of Negro and white.

Dr. Smith was a member of the Committee of Free Colored Citizens that sent a petition to the United States Senate in 1844. This document, which contained facts about the social conditions of Negroes in eleven states of the North, was a scientific protest against derogatory remarks about Negroes that Secretary of State John C. Calhoun had made to the British minister to the United States.Wilhemena Robinson, Historical Afro-American Biographies (1978).

 

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The absence of James McCune Smith in the historiographic and critical literature is even more striking. He was a brilliant scholar, writer, and critic, as well as a first rate physician. In 1882 the black leader Alexander Crummell called him "the most learned Negro of his day," and Frederick Douglass considered him the most important black influence in his life (much as he considered Gerrit Smith the most important white one). Douglass was probably correct when, in 1859, he publicly stated: "No man in this country more thoroughly understands the whole struggle between freedom and slavery, than does Dr. Smith, and his heart is as broad as his understanding." 

As a prose stylist and original thinker, McCune Smith ranks, at his best, alongside such canonical figures as Emerson and Thoreau. His essays are sophisticated and elegant, his interpretations of American culture are way ahead of his time, and his experimental style and use of dialect anticipates some of the Harlem Renaissance writers of the 1920s. Yet McCune Smith has been completely ignored by literary critics; and aside from one article on him, he has remained absent from the historical record.John Stauffer. "Introduction" to The Black  Hearts of Men: Radical Abolitionists and the Transformation of Race (2002)

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JOHN STAUFFER is the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University.  He received his Ph.D. in American Studies at Yale University in 1999, and won the Ralph Henry Gabriel Prize for the best dissertation in American Studies from the American Studies Association.  His first book, The Black  Hearts of Men: Radical Abolitionists and the Transformation of Race (Harvard University Press, 2002) was the co-winner of the 2002 Frederick Douglass Book Prize from the Gilder Lehrman Institute; winner of the Avery Craven Book Prize from the OAH; and the Lincoln Prize runner-up.  He is completing an edition of Frederick Douglass’ My Bondage and My Freedom for the Modern Library; editing a collection of John Brown’s writings; and writing a new book, “The American Sublime:  Interracial Friendships and the Dilemma of Democracy.”  

The Problem of Evil: Slavery, Freedom, And the Ambiguities of American Reform . Edited by Steven Mintz and John Stauffer

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James McCune Smith

(1813-1865)

James McCune Smith (1813-1865), a dignified and highly trained physician, was the first university-trained black physician. After attending the Free African School of New York where he distinguished himself as a pupil he was helped by a clergyman to matriculate in the University of Glasgow. There he worked with the Glasgow Emancipation Society and completed his MD degree, graduating in 1837. Smith received from the University of Glasgow (Scotland) the A.B., M.A., and M.D. degrees.

His mother was self-emancipated; his father was freed by a New York law passed in 1827. After his graduation, Smith returned to America and established two drugstores in New York City.

Dr. Smith became well-known for his pioneering work in the scientific study of race and for the scholarly treatment of the slavery question. He was a prolific writer on the subject of racial equality and able speaker who fought against the deportation of the Negro.

He wrote on abroad range of subjects concerning the Negro. He sought to change attitudes toward the Negro and direct sober thought to the question of the physical and moral equality of Negro and white. 

Source: Wilhemena Robinson, Historical Afro-American Biographies.

 

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

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#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
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#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

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#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

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#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

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#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

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#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
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#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

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#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
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#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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The Last Holiday: A Memoir

By Gil Scott Heron

Shortly after we republished The Vulture and The Nigger Factory, Gil started to tell me about The Last Holiday, an account he was writing of a multi-city tour that he ended up doing with Stevie Wonder in late 1980 and early 1981. Originally Bob Marley was meant to be playing the tour that Stevie Wonder had conceived as a way of trying to force legislation to make Martin Luther King's birthday a national holiday. At the time, Marley was dying of cancer, so Gil was asked to do the first six dates. He ended up doing all 41. And Dr King's birthday ended up becoming a national holiday ("The Last Holiday because America can't afford to have another national holiday"), but Gil always felt that Stevie never got the recognition he deserved and that his story needed to be told. The first chapters of this book were given to me in New York when Gil was living in the Chelsea Hotel. Among the pages was a chapter called Deadline that recounts the night they played Oakland, California, 8 December; it was also the night that John Lennon was murdered. Gil uses Lennon's violent end as a brilliant parallel to Dr King's assassination and as a biting commentary on the constraints that sometimes lead to newspapers getting things wrong. —Jamie Byng, Guardian / Gil_reads_"Deadline" (audio)  / Gil Scott-Heron & His Music  Gil Scott Heron Blue Collar  Remember Gil Scott- Heron

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The Warmth of Other Suns

The Epic Story of America's Great Migration

By Isabel Wilkerson

Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, a sharecropper's wife, left Mississippi for Milwaukee in 1937, after her cousin was falsely accused of stealing a white man's turkeys and was almost beaten to death. In 1945, George Swanson Starling, a citrus picker, fled Florida for Harlem after learning of the grove owners' plans to give him a "necktie party" (a lynching). Robert Joseph Pershing Foster made his trek from Louisiana to California in 1953, embittered by "the absurdity that he was doing surgery for the United States Army and couldn't operate in his own home town." Anchored to these three stories is Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Wilkerson's magnificent, extensively researched study of the "great migration," the exodus of six million black Southerners out of the terror of Jim Crow to an "uncertain existence" in the North and Midwest. Wilkerson deftly incorporates sociological and historical studies into the novelistic narratives of Gladney, Starling, and Pershing settling in new lands, building anew, and often finding that they have not left racism behind. The drama, poignancy, and romance of a classic immigrant saga pervade this book, hold the reader in its grasp, and resonate long after the reading is done.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

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update 4 February 2012

 

 

 

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Related files: Black Hearts Review  More Black Hearts Reviews     Black Hearts of Men Introduction  The Works of James McCune Smith