Black historical writing emerged in America later than White historical writing, but followed the same path of development, originating as lay or nonprofessional historical writing and then, at a later time, advancing to professional historical writing. Lay or precursor Black historians, as well as the later Black professional historians, were always up against White racist thinking, which included the racist thinking of white historians, that declared that Black people were “nonhumans” or “subhumans,” and thus a people not only without history but lacking the innate capacity to make it. The early Black historians sought to rend this racist thinking and argument, and in their efforts laid the foundation of determination, rebellion, and contrary historical writing that Black professional historians would inherit and build upon. They had their own stages of development, as First-and Second-Wave Black historians, as I depict them in this and the succeeding chapter, and made Black history a fully professional project, fully serviceable to Black people.
Lay Black historians emerged in America in the early nineteenth century, immediately catapulted into existence, in part in reaction to white lay historians who were endeavoring to write national histories that glorified white men and America and that simulta-