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Maffly-Kipp draws on lectures, sermons, plays, poetry, and other works of several little-known writers from the American Revolution and WWI that reflect on how the black community in the U.S. has attempted to record and analyze the meaning of the African diasporic experience. She explores the works of free blacks during slavery as they attempted to write their own histories and examine their circumstances as distinct and similar to that of slaves. Among those she examines: Lorenzo Dow Blackson, a self-educated African American Methodist preacher; Jacob Oson, a teacher at an African American school in New Haven, Connecticut, in the 1800s; and George Washington Williams, who in the late 1800s attempted to write the history of the African race. These writers add valuable perspective to the works of better-known black authors and a full perspective on African American history.
— Vanessa Bush