All of Our Book Reviews on African Americans

Pat Young

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Featured Book Reviewer
Joined
Jan 7, 2013
Location
Long Island, NY
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From Slavery to Uncertain Freedom: The Freedman's Bureau in Arkansas 1865-1869 (Black Community Studies) by Randy Finley published by The University of Arkansas Press (1996) 229 pages; $19.95 Paperback.

The history of black freedom in Reconstruction Arkansas.

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/fr...in-arkansas-1865-1869-by-randy-finley.145476/
 

Drew

Major
Joined
Oct 22, 2012
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T. Thomas Fortune was a leading African American publisher, editor, and journalist of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, who was born a slave in antebellum Florida lived through emancipation, and rose to become a literary lion of his generation. In T. Thomas Fortune's “After War Times,” Daniel R. Weinfeld brings together a series of twenty-three autobiographical articles Fortune wrote about his formative childhood during Reconstruction and subsequent move to Washington, DC.

http://www.uapress.ua.edu/product/After-War-Times,5862.aspx
 

Drew

Major
Joined
Oct 22, 2012
P.S., I've read After War Times. I won't review it, but it's fascinating and worth anyone's time.
 

Pat Young

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Featured Book Reviewer
Joined
Jan 7, 2013
Location
Long Island, NY
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For Their Own Cause: The 27th United States Colored Troops by Kelly Mezurek published by Kent State University Press (2016). $37.95 Hardcover, $18.49 Kindle

For Their Own Cause: The 27th United States Colored Troops by Kelly Mezurek is the latest contribution to the history of black Civil War regiments. It is an intelligently written study of an unheralded force of Ohio African Americans.

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/fo...y-kelly-mezurek-a-black-ohio-regiment.138659/
 

Mark F. Jenkins

Colonel
Member of the Year
Joined
Mar 31, 2012
Location
Central Ohio
https://www.civilwartalk.com/threads/reading-list-black-civil-war-sailors.90751/#post-731218

I suppose those aren't really "reviews"... let me speak to what I consider the best ones of those and why. It's been a couple of years since I read them, so I'll keep it brief and general:

Gould, William B. Diary of a Contraband: The Civil War Passage of a Black Sailor. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford Univ. Press, 2002.
Although I'm not especially fond of the autobiographical details provided by the author (who is the historical person's descendant and namesake), the writings of Gould do stand quite well on their own. He was a frequent contributor to "black" newspapers and continued as a sort of war correspondent while in the Navy.​

Miller, Edward A., Jr. Gullah Statesman: Robert Smalls from Slavery to Congress, 1839-1915. Columbia, S.C.: Univ. of South Carolina Press, 2008.
Those hoping for a hagiography of Smalls may be disappointed; he comes across as rather unequal to the task of being a Congressman (though perhaps not any more or less so than the average Congressman of the era), and Miller provides a clear, balanced view of Smalls' faults as well as his strengths. There is quite a bit of detail (some rather alarming) about rough-and-tumble postwar politics, so this classifies as a Reconstruction read as well as about Smalls' famous Civil War escape and subsequent Union service.​

Ramold, Steven J. Slaves, Sailors, Citizens: African Americans in the Union Navy. DeKalb, Ill.: Northern Illinois Univ. Press, 2002.

Tomblin, Barbara Brooks. Bluejackets and Contrabands: African Americans and the Union Navy. Lexington, Ky.: Univ. Press of Kentucky, 2009.

I fear these two rather run together in my mind. They're both excellent; Ramold does more analyzing and Tomblin tends more to the writings-by-participants side. One of them is more about former slaves in Union service while the other is more about black Northerners in service, but I'm going to need to refresh my memory as to which is which. (But I can unreservedly recommend both, so pick up both and cover all the bases...)​
 
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