Without Regard to Race: The Other Martin Robison Delany

By Tunde Adeleke | Go to book overview

TWO
Delany Historiography

“I AM AN invisible man… I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids—and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me. Like the bodiless heads you see sometimes in circus sideshows, it is as though I have been surrounded by mirrors of hard, distorting glass. When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imagination—indeed, everything and anything except me,” laments the hero in Ralph Ellison’s epic novel Invisible Man.1 This characterization aptly captures the larger invisibility that defined the fate of blacks in American history. As historian Idus Newby brilliantly articulates, for decades leading American historians persistently de-emphasized, and at times completely ignored, the presence and contributions of blacks to the historical and national development of America.2 He identifies the “invisible perspective” as among several negative historical paradigms that shaped American scholarly representations of the black experience.3 In nineteenth-century black American history, Martin Delany exemplified the perfect prototype of the invisible man. His invisibility was two-fold. First, he did not begin to receive due scholarly recognition and respect until the late 1960s and early 1970s. He shared this late recognition along with many other black leaders. Second, and perhaps more important, he exemplified the Ellisonian invisibility model. Even when he began to receive attention, he remained largely misunderstood

-19-

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Without Regard to Race: The Other Martin Robison Delany
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • Introduction xix
  • One Black Biography - From Instrumentalism to Functionalism 3
  • Two - Delany Historiography 19
  • Three First Integrationist Phase - Moral Suasion, 1830–1849 40
  • Four - Second Integrationist Phase 1863–1874 70
  • Five - Third Integrationist Phase 1875-1877 135
  • Six - Final Years 1878–1885 161
  • Conclusion 178
  • Appendix A - "A Political Review" 194
  • Appendix B - "Trial and Conviction" 210
  • Notes 228
  • Bibliography 256
  • Index 269
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