John Edward Bruce: Politician, Journalist, and Self-Trained Historian of the African Diaspora

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John Edward Bruce, a premier black journalist from the late 1800's until his death in 1924, was a vital force in the popularization of African American history. "Bruce Grit," as he was called, wrote for such publications as Marcus Garvey's nationalist newspaper, The Negro World, and McGirt's Magazine.

Born a slave in Maryland in 1856, Bruce gained his freedom by joining a regiment of Union soldiers passing through on their way to Washington, DC. Bruce was in contact with major figures in African American history, including Henry Highland Garnett and Martin Delany, both instrumental in the development of 19th century Black nationalism and the struggle for Black liberation. Close relationships with Liberian statesman Edward Wilmot Blyden and with Alexander Crummell, a key advocate for the emigration of Blacks to Africa, assisted in Bruce's development into a leading African American spokesman.

In 1911, Arthur Alfonso Schomburg and Bruce co-founded the Negro Society for Historical Research, which greatly influenced black book collecting and preservation as well as the study of African American themes.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Essential reading."


”An informative, engaging text about a dynamic—and too long ignored—figure in African American journalism history whose life interested with the lives of some major figures involved in the struggle for equal rights during the first fifty years after the Civil War.”

-Calvin L. Hall,Appalachian State University

"This biography adds to the record of a dismal era."

-Columbia Journalism Review

"Crowder's important work presents a complex multidimensional figure whose contributions far exceeded the realm of journalism."

-Moses Moore,Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Arizona State University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814715185
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/2004
  • Pages: 243
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Ralph L. Crowder is Associate Professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Riverside.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Appreciating Neglected Voices—John Edward Bruce and the Struggle to Liberate the Race
1 From Slavery to Freedom: John Edward Bruce’s Childhood and Adolescence
2 Blyden, Crummell, and Bruce: Mentors, Patrons, and the Evolution of a Pan-African Intellectual Network
3 Race, Politics, and Patronage: John Edward Bruce and the Republican Party
4 Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, and John Edward Bruce’s Career as a Journalistic Hired Gun
5 The Popularization of African American History: John Edward Bruce as Historian, Bibliophile, and Black History Advocate
6 “Grand Old Man of the Movement”: John Edward Bruce, Marcus Garvey, and the UNIA
Conclusion: The Making of a Race Man: The Meaning and Significance of John Edward Bruce’s Life
Selected Bibliography
About the Author
Illustrations appear together as an insert following page 54.

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