"APPEARED AT A CRITICAL MOMENT IN ABOLITIONIST AND SLAVE-NARRATIVE HISTORY… RESONATES WITH HS FIERCELY HELD DOCTRINE OF ACTIVE RESISTANCE": FIRST EXPANDED EDITION OF REVEREND JERMAIN W. LOGUEN'S 1859 AUTOBIOGRAPHY "AS A SLAVE AND AS A FREEMAN," IN ORIGINAL CLOTH
LOGUEN, Rev. J.W. The Rev. J.W. Loguen, As a Slave and as a Freeman. A Narrative of Real Life. Syracuse, N.Y.: J.G.K. Truair, 1859. Octavo, original brown cloth; pp. 454. $1650.
First expanded edition, issued same year as the first, of Loguen's seminal autobiography, a core work hailed with Frederick Douglass' slave narrative as "major touchstones of African American autobiography," affirming his "militant antislavery activism" as a fugitive slave and leading abolitionist who was viewed as the "Underground Railroad King," issued anonymously with his frontispiece portrait, in original cloth.
Reverend Loguen was "a pioneering figure in early 19th-century abolitionism and African American literature" (Project MUSE). At the time of publication, both Loguen's and Frederick Douglass' slave narratives were seen as "major touchstones of African American autobiography." Born in 1814 to a black woman who had been kidnapped from a free state and enslaved, his white father was his slave owner. Loguen, who added the "n" to his last name to differentiate himself from his father, suffered near-crippling beatings and witnessed the brutal sale of his siblings before escaping to Canada and settling in upstate New York, where he was ordained by the AME Zion church. "He counted among his close friends and colleagues a virtual 'who's who' of American reformers" that included Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, William Wells Brown, Harriet Tubman and William Still (Williamson, "Critical Introduction," Rev. J.W. Loguen, 1-8).
When the Fugitive Slave Act passed in 1850, "Loguen's militant antislavery activism spurred his leadership in the widely reported effort to rescue William 'Jerry' McHenry in 1851." In addition, as a "conductor" for the Syracuse Underground Railroad, he violated rules of secrecy when he "boldly identified himself on his business cards and letters as an 'Underground Railroad Agent'… his audacity—especially given his own fugitive slave status was unprecedented" (Williamson, 4-5). By 1854 he had joined the Radical Abolition Society and in 1858, "he worked closely with John Brown in drafting plans to permanently abolish slavery. Loguen, in fact, was one of the few former slaves who influenced Brown's thinking… however Loguen did not participate in Brown's seizure of the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry. Although he considered Brown a venerable political hero and martyr, he nonetheless felt that this particular plan was too risky" (Finkelman, ed. Encyclopedia of African American History).
Loguen's autobiography, which "appeared at a critical moment in abolitionist and slave-narrative history… resonates with his fiercely held doctrine of active resistance." Because it was issued anonymously and written largely in the third person, it was once credited to a white abolitionist, John Thomas. Yet increased research and a letter from Thomas to Gerrit Smith indicate "Loguen created the original manuscript of his autobiography and then turned it over to his white associate to shape into published form… typical of the pre-publication editorial process then and now… Loguen was involved with the production of the narrative from its creation to its publication and distribution, and he maintained total financial responsibility for the work, listing his name as the official copyright register to Congress in the text's imprint" (Williamson, 12-18 ). In the early 1860s he "recruited black troops for the Union army. After the Civil War… he became bishop of the Fifth District of the AMEZ Church… On the eve of leaving for a new post as organizer of AMEZ missions on the Pacific coast," he died in 1872 (ANB). First expanded edition: with "Testimony of Rev. E.P. Rogers" and poem "Loguen's position" at rear, not present in the same year's first edition. Containing frontispiece portrait with his facsimile signature below the image. Brigano 445. Porter, Negro in the United States 848. See Johnson IV:22. Not in Blockson.
Interior generally fresh with scant foxing mainly to lightly soiled preliminary leaves; inner hinges and original cloth with expert estoration.