Righteous Propagation: African Americans and the Politics of Racial Destiny after Reconstruction
Witmer, Andrew, The Virginia Quarterly Review
Righteous Propagation: African Americans and the Politics of Racial Destiny After Reconstruction, by Michele Mitchell. North Carolina, December 2004. $59.95
The final decades of the nineteenth century and the opening decades of the twentieth were among the most harrowing in the history of the black experience in America. Beset by virulent new forms of racism, threatened with physical violence and political disfranchisement, and alarmed by reports about black infant mortality and declining fertility, African Americans on every rung of the socio-economic ladder searched for ways to improve their lives and ensure the "survival of the race" (in their terms). Michele Mitchell's insightful and humane new book creatively explores these efforts, both those which looked outward and those which concentrated on improving the race from within. Mitchell's first chapters examine the outward impulses of emigration and imperialism (particularly emigration to the African nation of Liberia), which seemed to many blacks like excellent strategies for improving their lives and certifying the "manhood" of their race. By drawing on letters to the American Colonization Society seeking assistance in relocating to Africa, Mitchell gives poignant voice to the otherwise forgotten hopes and fears of many poor African Americans. Her chapter on "the black man's burden" shows how some black men participated in the spirit and the projects of American imperialism in order to refute racist claims about their inferior manhood. …
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Publication information: Article title: Righteous Propagation: African Americans and the Politics of Racial Destiny after Reconstruction. Contributors: Witmer, Andrew - Author. Journal title: The Virginia Quarterly Review. Volume: 81. Issue: 3 Publication date: Summer 2005. Page number: 255+. © University of Virginia Winter 2009. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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