"AN EPIC CHAPTER IN THE HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE": FIRST EDITION OF THE NEGRO IN TENNESSEE, WITH THE OWNER STAMPS OF ROSCOE DUNJEE, THE EDITOR OF OKLAHOMA CITY'S ONLY BLACK NEWSPAPER
TAYLOR, Alrutheus Ambush. The Negro in Tennessee, 1865-1880. Washington: Associated Publishers, 1941. Octavo, original green cloth, original dust jacket. $650.
First edition of Dr. Taylor's Reconstruction history of Tennessee, where "hostility to the war amendments was possibly more bitter and determined than it was in the other Confederate states," the third and final work in his important series on the Reconstruction, countering "the negative stereotypes that dominated previous writing." The copy of Roscoe Dunjee, the editor of Oklahoma City's only Black newspaper, with his owner stamps.
"To describe the end of slavery in the South is to re-create a profound human drama… Never before had black people in the South found any reason to view the future with more hope… The struggles they would be forced to wage to shape their lives and destinies as free men and women remain to this day an epic chapter in the history of the American people" (Litvack, Been in the Storm). This is one of the first Reconstruction histories by an African American historian—Dr. A.A. Taylor, "a painstaking scholar and authority on Negro history" (Crisis). As noted by a contemporary, he records an especially dangerous time, when African Americans were trapped "between the devil and the deep blue sea… Hostility to the war amendments was possibly more bitter and determined than it was in any other Confederate states… the massacres at Memphis in 1866 and Trenton in 1874 are cited" (Journal of Negro History). Throughout this and his histories of South Carolina (1924) and Virginia (1926), "Taylor's purpose was forthright: he believed that the view of Reconstruction then prevailing in the United States was deeply flawed… he was able to counter the negative stereotypes that dominated previous writing and offer a more balanced account of the African American experience" (James Mohr). Owner stamps, including on title page, last page of index, and edges of text block of Roscoe Dunjee, editor of Oklahoma City's only Black newspaper, Black Dispatch (1915-1954). Dunjee was a major force in the Oklahoma and Oklahoma City civil rights struggle. Additionally, Dunjee was member of the NAACP's national board of directors and served for 16 years as president of the Oklahoma State Conference of Branches of the NAACP.
Book with minor discoloration to endpapers, slight soiling to edges of text block, and a bit of soiling to spine and rear board. Dust jacket with light chipping to edges, toning to spine, and shelf label affixed at bottom of spine. An extremely good copy with desirable provenance.