Advertisement

Medieval Self-Fashioning: The Middle Ages in African-American Scholarship and Curricula

  • Matthew X. Vernon
Chapter
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)

Abstract

In this chapter, Vernon follows how the political purchase of the Middle Ages could be marshaled to renegotiate the terms of belonging in the nation in ways that planted intercultural contact and fusion within the core of American identity. While white Americans often read the Anglo-Saxon period as an era of purity interrupted by the Norman invasion, these African-American scholars read the hyphen; they focused on the Middle Ages as a period of racial mixing and political possibility between Angles, Saxons, and Normans. Vernon then offers a historical reading of archival materials charting the earliest writing about and teaching of the Middle Ages among African-American intellectuals. He reveals how the philological approach that was important to early medieval research could be wielded to the political ends of African-American education, in particular as a set of tools for understanding African-American history through linguistic study.

Works Cited

Primary Sources

  1. 1908–09: Catalog of the Officers and Students of Howard University. Howard University Catalogs. 39, 1908.Google Scholar
  2. The Anglo-African Magazine, vol. 1, 1859. Reprint: New York: Arno Press, 1968.Google Scholar
  3. Beal, Rev. R.L. “The Successful Mission of Oliver Cromwell and Napoleon Bonaparte.” AME Church Review 5 (1888), 97.Google Scholar
  4. Blackshear, Edward L. “The Negro as Passive Factor in American History.” AME Church Review 20 (1901), 362–363.Google Scholar
  5. Boswell, James. Boswell’s Life of Johnson. Edited by George Birbeck Hill. London: Oxford University Press, 1934.Google Scholar
  6. Braithwaite, William Stanley. “Contemporary Poets of the Negro Race.” The Crisis 17 (1919), 275–280, Reprinted in The William Stanley Braithwaite Reader. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1972.Google Scholar
  7. Brawley, Benjamin. The Negro in Literature and Art in the United States. New York: Duffield & Co., 1918.Google Scholar
  8. ———. A New Survey of English Literature. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1925.Google Scholar
  9. ———. review of The Negro in Contemporary Literature, by Elizabeth Lay Green, Opportunity 6 (1928), 381.Google Scholar
  10. Brotz, Howard. African American Social and Political Thought, 1850–1920. New York: Basic Books, 1966.Google Scholar
  11. Clark-Atlanta Board of Trustees. Letter to Horace Bumstead from Board of Trustees, Box 12, Clark-Atlanta University Archives.Google Scholar
  12. Day, William H. “The Black Saxon: A Tale of America.—A Poem.” 10 June 1846, Student Life: Literary organizations: Phi Kappa Pi-Box 1-History, Oberlin College Archives.Google Scholar
  13. Douglass, Frederick. Frederick Douglass to Robert Adams, Anacostia, DC, December 4, 1888, Gilder Lehrman Collection, Yale University. https://www.gilderlehrman.org/content/frederick-douglass-disfranchisement-black-voters-1888.
  14. ———. “The Negro in the Present Campaign.” AME Church Review 9 (1892), 114–126.Google Scholar
  15. ———. The Life and Writings of Frederick Douglass, Vols. 1–5. Edited by Philip S. Foner. New York: International Publishers, 1950.Google Scholar
  16. ———. “A Composite Nation,” 1869. In Racism, Dissent, and Asian-Americans from 1850 to the Present: A Documentary History, eds. Philip S. Foner and Daniel Rosenberg. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1970.Google Scholar
  17. ———. Frederick Douglass: The Narrative and Selected Writings. Edited by Michael Meyer. New York: McGraw-Hill Inc., 1984.Google Scholar
  18. ———. “The Nation’s Problem: An Address Delivered in Washington D.C. on 16 April 1889.” In The Frederick Douglass Papers: Speeches, Debates and Interviews, eds. John W. Blassingame and John R. McKivigan, vol. 5. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992.Google Scholar
  19. ———. The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. Edited by Ira Dworkin. New York: Penguin Books, 2004.Google Scholar
  20. ———. The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass. Hartford: Park Publishing, 1881. Reprint: Mineola: Dover, 2007.Google Scholar
  21. Douglass, Frederick, et al. “The Democratic Return to Power—Its Effect?” AME Church Review 1 (1884), 213–250.Google Scholar
  22. Du Bois, W.E.B. “The Cultural Missions of Atlanta University.” In W.E.B. DuBois: A Reader, ed. Meyer Weinberg. New York: Harper & Row, 1970, 187–200.Google Scholar
  23. ———. “The Souls of White Folk.” In The Oxford W.E.B. DuBois Reader, ed. Eric J. Sundquist. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.Google Scholar
  24. Elliott, G.M. “We Must Educate.” AME Church Review 1 (1884), 330.Google Scholar
  25. Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2004.Google Scholar
  26. Fortune, T. Thomas. “Civil Rights and Social Privileges.” AME Church Review 2 (1885), 119–131.Google Scholar
  27. Gilman, Arthur. First Steps in English Literature. New York, A.S. Barnes & Company, 1870.Google Scholar
  28. Jefferson, Thomas. A Summary View of the Rights of British America. Williamsburg: Clementina Rind, 1774.Google Scholar
  29. ———. An Essay towards Facilitating Instruction in the Anglo-Saxon and Modern Dialects of the English Language. New York: John F. Trow, 1851.Google Scholar
  30. Johnson, James Weldon, ed. The American Book of Negro Poetry. New York: Harcourt Brace and Company, 1922.Google Scholar
  31. Jones, J.A.M. “The Proverbial Philosophy of the Colored Race.” AME Church Review, 1 (October 1884), 126–133.Google Scholar
  32. Kellogg, Brainard. English Literature. New York: Clark & Maynard Publishers, 1882.Google Scholar
  33. Locke, Alain. Jingo. “Counter Jingo and Us.” Opportunity 16 (1938), 7–11.Google Scholar
  34. London, Jack. The Valley of the Moon. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999.Google Scholar
  35. Muller, Max. Lectures on the Science of Language. London: Longmans, Green and Company, 1871.Google Scholar
  36. Pancoast, Henry Spackman. An Introduction to English Literature. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1895.Google Scholar
  37. Parker, John W. “Benjamin Brawley—Teacher and Scholar.” Phylon 10.1 (1949), 22.Google Scholar
  38. Queen, Haille E. Personal Note written to James Weldon Johnson. Mss. 797, 3.4. Emory University Archives.Google Scholar
  39. Ray, Henrietta Cordelia. “Dante.” AME Church Review (1885), 231.Google Scholar
  40. S.S.N. Anglo-Saxon, and Anglo-African. The Anglo-African Magazine, Vol. 1, 1859. Reprint: New York: Arno Press, 1968.Google Scholar
  41. Scott, Walter. The Lay of the Last Minstrel. London: James Ballantyne & Co., 1808.Google Scholar
  42. Sears, W.G. AME Church Review 3 (1885), 13.Google Scholar
  43. Sipkins, Henry and Philip A. Bell. “Second Annual National Negro Convention” in The Liberator, 22 September 1832, A Documentary History of the Negro People in the United States: From Colonial Times Through the Civil War. Edited by Herbert Aptheker. New York: The Citadel Press, 1968.Google Scholar
  44. Smith, James McCune. “The German Invasion.” In The Anglo-African Magazine, Vol. 1.2 (February 1859), 44–52.Google Scholar
  45. ———. “Letter to Robert Hamilton, 27 August 1864.” In Black Abolitionist Papers, eds. C. Peter Ripley et al. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1992.Google Scholar
  46. ———. The Works of James McCune Smith: Black Intellectual and Abolitionist. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.Google Scholar
  47. Stoddard, Theodore Lothrop. The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1921.Google Scholar
  48. Stolberg, Benjamin. “Minority Jingo.” The Nation, 23 October 1937, 437–439.Google Scholar
  49. Sundquist, Eric J., ed. Frederick Douglass: New Literary and Historical Essays. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.Google Scholar
  50. Taylor, Hannis. The Making of the Constitution. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1899.Google Scholar
  51. Thomas, Rev. C.O.H. “The Negro-His Past and Present.” AME Church Review, 10 (1893), 470–477.Google Scholar
  52. Thomson, A.C.C. “Refuge from Oppression. From the Delaware Republican to the Public. Falsehood Refuted.” The Liberator, December 12, 1845.Google Scholar
  53. Trench, Richard Chenevix. English, Past and Present. London: Macmillan and Co., 1877.Google Scholar
  54. Turner, Lorenzo Dow. Africanisms in the Gullah Dialect, 3rd edition. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2002a.Google Scholar
  55. Turpin, Josephine. “The Origin and Progress of the English Language.” AME Church Review 4 (1887), 280.Google Scholar
  56. Webster, Noah. Dissertations on the English Language: with Notes, Historical and Critical. Boston: Isaiah Thomas and Company, 1789.Google Scholar
  57. ———. An American Dictionary of the English Language (Originally Published in 1826), Revised and Enlarged. Springfield: Merriam, 1862.Google Scholar
  58. Woodson, Carter G. The Mis-education of the Negro. Washington, DC: The Associated Publishers, 1933.Google Scholar
  59. Wright, R.R. AME Church Review 10.4 (1893), 460.Google Scholar

Secondary Sources

  1. Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, 2nd edition. London: Verso, 2006.Google Scholar
  2. Bancroft, George. The Necessity, the Reality and the Promise of the Progress of the Human Race: An Oration Delivered before the New York Historical Society. New York: New York Historical Society, 1854.Google Scholar
  3. ———. The History of the United States of America, from the Discovery of the American Continent, vol. 1. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1870.Google Scholar
  4. ———. The Life and Letters of George Bancroft, 2 vols. Edited by Mark Anthony de Wolfe Howe. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1908.Google Scholar
  5. Child, Lydia Maria. “The Black Saxons.” The Liberator, 8 (January 1841), 5–6.Google Scholar
  6. Davis, Harry E. “Early Colored Residents of Cleveland.” Phylon 4.3 (1941), 233–245.Google Scholar
  7. Dyson, Walter. Howard University: The Capstone of Negro Education. Washington, DC: The Graduate School Howard University, 1941.Google Scholar
  8. Frantzen, Allen J.. Desire for Origins: New Language, Old English and Teaching the Tradition. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1990.Google Scholar
  9. ———. Bloody Good: Chivalry, Sacrifice and the Great War. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004.Google Scholar
  10. Glicksburg, Charles I. “The Negro Cult of the Primitive.” The Antioch Review 10.1 (1944), 47–55.Google Scholar
  11. Hanlon, Christopher. America’s England: Antebellum Literature and American Sectionalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.Google Scholar
  12. Hauer, Stanley. “Thomas Jefferson and the Anglo-Saxon Language.” PMLA 98.5 (October 1983), 879–898.Google Scholar
  13. Hobson, Christopher Z. The Mount of Vision: African American Prophetic Tradition, 1800–1950. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.Google Scholar
  14. Horsman, Reginald. Race and Manifest Destiny: The Origins of American Racial Anglo-Saxonism. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1981.Google Scholar
  15. Howe, Nicholas. Migration and Mythmaking. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989.Google Scholar
  16. Hutchinson, George. The Harlem Renaissance in Black and White. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996.Google Scholar
  17. Jerng, Mark. Claiming Others: Transracial Adoption and National Belonging. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010.Google Scholar
  18. Karabel, Jerome. The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale and Princeton. New York: Mariner Books, 2006.Google Scholar
  19. Kim, Heidi Kathleen. “From Language to Empire: Walt Whitman in the Context of Nineteenth-Century Popular Anglo-Saxonism.” Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 24 (Summer 2006), 1–19.Google Scholar
  20. Lazo, Roderigo. “The Ends of Enchantment: Douglass, Melville, and U.S. Expansionism in the Americas.” In Frederick Douglass & Herman Melville: Essays in Relation, eds. Robert S. Levine and Samuel Otter. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2008, 207–232.Google Scholar
  21. Lears, T.J. Jackson No Place of Grace: Anti-Modernism and the Transformation of American Culture 1880–1920. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994.Google Scholar
  22. Looney, Dennis. Freedom Readers. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2011.Google Scholar
  23. McInerney, Daniel John. The Fortunate Heirs of Freedom: Abolition and Republican Thought. Lincoln: University of Nebraska, 1994.Google Scholar
  24. Nevalainen, Terttu, and Elizabeth Closs Traugott, eds. The Oxford Handbook of the History of English. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.Google Scholar
  25. Rafael, Vincente. “Translation, American English and the National Insecurities of Empire.” Social Text 27.4 (2009), 451–468.Google Scholar
  26. Scanlon, Larry. “Poets Laureate and the Language of Slaves.” In The Vulgar Tongue, eds. Fiona Somerset and Nicholas Watson. University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2003.Google Scholar
  27. Scudder, Horace E. Noah Webster. Boston: Houghton Mifflin and Company, 1890.Google Scholar
  28. Smith, Charles Spenser, and Daniel Alexander Payne. History of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Philadelphia: Book Concern of the A.M.E. Church, 1922.Google Scholar
  29. Steele, Brian. Thomas Jefferson and American Nationhood. Birmingham: University of Alabama Press, 2012.Google Scholar
  30. Tillman, Nathaniel. “A Possible Etymology of ‘Tote.’” American Speech 17.2 (1942), 128–129.Google Scholar
  31. Turner, Lorenzo Dow. Africanisms in the Gullah Dialect. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2002b.Google Scholar
  32. VanHoosier-Carey, Gregory A. “Byrhtnoth in Dixie: The Emergence of Anglo-Saxon Studies in the Postbellum South.” In Anglo-Saxonism and the Construction of Social Identity, ed. Allen J. Frantzen. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1997.Google Scholar
  33. ———. “Anglo-Saxon Studies in the Postbellum South.” In Anglo-Saxonism and the Construction of Social Identity, eds. Allen J. Frantzen and John D. Niles Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1992.Google Scholar
  34. Wachtell, Cynthia. “The Author of the Civil War.” The New York Times, July 6, 2012. Accessed August 12, 2015. http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/06/the-author-of-the-civil-war/.
  35. Wade-Lewis, Margaret. Lorenzo Dow Turner: Father of Gullah Studies. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2007.Google Scholar
  36. Wilson, Ivy. “The Brief Wondrous Life of the Anglo-African Magazine or, Antebellum African American Editorial Practice and Its Afterlives.” In Publishing Blackness: Textual Constructions of Race Since 1850. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew X. Vernon
    • 1
  1. 1.University of California, DavisDavisUSA

Personalised recommendations