THE AMERICAN NEGRO, by William Hannibal Thomas - 1901
The American Negro: What He Was, What He Is, and What He May Become - A Critical and Practical Discussion
by William Hannibal Thomas
Published in 1901, William Hannibal Thomas's The American Negro is a controversial review of the history of black Americans and an assessment of the challenges that faced them at the beginning of the twentieth century. 440 pages with Index. 6" by 8.25".
Second Printing, of the 1st Edition. New York: The Macmillan Company. 1901.
Hardback is overall in VERY GOOD condition.
- Buckram has blind-tooled borders on covers and bright gilt to spine.
- Brown cloth boards show minimal wear with light scuffing to areas, and bumped corners.
- Spine ends are lightly crushed with some scuffing and light fraying.
- Binding is secure and slightly cocked, with a little play and occasional gutter gap.
- End papers show writing in pencil, and are toned with a little foxing.
- Rear hinge is cracked behind endpaper with exposed super visible only at a close angle.
- Gilt head of text block is faded and dusty. Fore and foot edges are deckled.
- Inside pages are free of writing and intentional marks.
- Rare scattered foxing to text
- Interior hows some marginal physical damage, limited to closed tears and small chips, including a more notable bump that affects several pages along the foot edge.
- Most notable marginal damage is a 2" tear at corner of page xii-xiv. (See photos)
- Page 47-48 has a closed 3" tear that starts with a minor chip on the fore edge and extends into text, moreso on pg 48 where it is secured with tanned cellophane tape. (See Photos)
- Book may exhibit additional minor signs of age or wear.
"I began this undertaking with a profound belief in the truth, 'What man has thought, man can think; what man has felt, man can feel; what man has done, man can do;' nor have my labors lessened my faith in that direction. Therefore, in the trust that all negroid men and women, now hedged about with discouragements and hampered by privations, but, nevertheless, hungering and thirsting after the realities of true manhood and womanhood, may be encouraged to strive for the consummation of their ideals, I take them at once into my confidence, and give them a bit of my personal history. To such my narrative may bring cheer and success, when they come to know how one of their kith and kin, who was reared like themselves in the school of adversity, and in addition physically disabled at the dawn of manhood, throughout a lifelong struggle with adverse circumstances, in which he owed nothing to adventitious influences, not only acquired by discriminate reading and serious meditation on the great issues of life a fair degree of knowledge of men and things, but also found that every endowment of manhood or womanhood is within the reach of every human being who puts integrity before material gain and self-respect before mendacious folly.
"I have now a word to say to a larger audience,-- the American people,--because, in my judgment, the negro question embodies the most momentous problems that have engaged the attention of the nation. I think I have fairly diagnosed the racial situation, and have pointed out rational and efficient remedies for the elimination of race disabilities, by putting within the reach of those who desire to free them selves from the thraldom of inherited degradation means for regeneration. While nothing which I have written concerning the habits of the freedmen is new to the negroes themselves, who in their secluded gatherings show no reluctance to talk freely of themselves, yet so far as the white race is concerned there is very little first-hand knowledge regarding these topics. In fact, I doubt if any white person lives who has an adequate comprehension of negro characteristics, notwithstanding the many who descant glibly on the present and future of the freed people.
"I know that few have any actual knowledge of their hidden lives and real living in their homes, churches, and social intercourse; especially of their individual hopes and fears, of opportunities denied them, of temptations besetting them, of prejudices they encounter, of victories they achieve. It is therefore obvious that the American white people have no intelligent insight into negro sociology; and it is reasonable, to assume that, apart from the annual educational mendicant and the clerical beggar, the essential facts of negro life are as little known to the great mass of our people as they were three centuries ago. Furthermore, I make bold to say that no genuine attempt has been made, in any quarter, to know the negro as a freeman and as a citizen of our republican commonwealth. He has rights which are denied, as well as wrongs that have gone unredressed; and though he possesses many despicable traits that environment has accentuated, nevertheless his acknowledged exemplars have not all been saints, nor are his teachers altogether blameless for existing racial conditions."
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