Formation of the State by Lawrence Krader

By Lawrence Krader

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C. Pennington, Samuel Ringgold Ward, to list a few – were known just as much as orators as writers. Indeed, many entered into the world of print because of their powers in oratory (which was a largely masculine mode of expression in this era). Some – Douglass, Brown, William and Ellen Craft, Henry “Box” Bown – even gained international renown by traveling to Britain and Europe and giving public lectures about the evils of slavery. ” Even though radical abolitionists were out of step with most Americans, their forceful message about the evils of Southern plantation slavery was effective over time.

The second edition of his autobiography, published in Manchester in 1851, presents a more compact and stylistically controlled work, due to Brown’s editorial control. It was entitled simply the Narrative of the Life of Henry Box Brown, Written by Himself. During the antebellum period, when the political stakes of the slave narrative’s authenticity became intensified, antislavery reviewers usually defended the veracity of the slave narrative as well as the moral character of the slave narrator. Such praise often relied on available cultural tropes and set the terms through which slave narrators reconstructed their own identities.

They also supported and patronized the work of black writeractivists like Equiano and Quobna Ottobah Cugoano. These organizations significantly generated a great deal of antislavery literature: books, pamphlets, epistles, institutional reports and proceedings, published sermons and orations, as well as a lot of visual and iconic materials meant to sentimentalize the plight of African slaves. Composed largely, though not exclusively, of Quakers and humanitarians, these groups helped to form a kind of transatlantic print culture, which overlapped with those of evangelicalism, political radicalism, and popular culture.

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