Moorfield Storey and the Abolitionist Tradition

Moorfield Storey and the Abolitionist Tradition

Moorfield Storey and the Abolitionist Tradition

Moorfield Storey and the Abolitionist Tradition

Excerpt

This book began as a doctoral dissertation at Columbia University when, in the typical quandary of a graduate student, I found that the projects I had been considering were for one reason or another no longer possible to complete. My attention was first focused on Storey by Mark A. DeWolfe Howe's Portrait of an Independent: Moorfield Storey, 1845-1929 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1932), a book which impresses me now, as it did then, as contained a good selection of his letters but as unimaginatively organized and outdated in approach. My appetite whetted, I eventually located the various manuscripts and began the research.

Unlike other historians who have tended to approach Storey from his position as an Independent reformer in the late nineteenth century, I was drawn to him through earlier research on the history of the civil-rights movement, and saw him first as president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Work on the dissertation was begun in 1965, the year of the march on Selma, and also of the intervention in Santo Domingo and the escalation in Vietnam; and it would be disingenuous of me not to note that my interest in Storey's career was maintained by the relevance of the problems he considered . . .

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