Just Teach One: Early African American Print

The recovery of African American literature—and so of a full sense of American literature—is far from over. But while teachers and scholars have a richer range of anthologies, editions, and other resources than ever before, changing an academic landscape reified by decades of neglect, dismissal, and other forms of racism large and small will continue to take thoughtful and concerted efforts and significant new learning by all involved.

This is perhaps especially true in terms of pre-twentieth century African American literature, a subject area that was first dismissed by the academy out of hand and then pigeon-holed as a small field limited to specific genres (e.g., the slave narrative) or rare, exceptional figures (e.g., Frederick Douglass). Scholars continue to rediscover new and fascinating texts, authors, and communities—in part by looking at venues like the Black press and the Colored Convention movement often unknown to or ignored by earlier literary historians. One of today’s challenges is to create points of access to these rediscoveries that appropriately frame and present these critical pieces of African American (and so American) literature and culture and that allow individuals to work in responsible, well-informed, dialogic ways to benefit teaching, learning, and further scholarship.

Just Teach One: Early African American Print Conveners

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