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Black & White

Land, Labor, and Politics in the South

Introduction by Seth Moglen

This new edition of T. Thomas Fortune's masterpiece—originally published in 1884—presents a classic work of African American political thought to a new generation of readers.

Like the intellectual giants who emerged before and after him—Frederick Douglass and W.E.B. Du Bois—T. Thomas Fortune was a writer, activist, and public intellectual. Born into slavery, Fortune became the leading black journalist of his generation, and he was the most eloquent and influential African American radical of the late nineteenth century.

Black and White offers Fortune's brilliant analysis of racism as a systemic, institutionalized practice that had undermined America's Enlightenment ideals from the time of the nation's founding. Asserting that the abolition of slavery had in no way diminished the virulence of white racism, he insisted that sharecropping, chain gangs, lynching, and the denial of civil rights had forced black Americans into a terrible new form of enslavement. With a prophetic voice, Fortune argued that if the United States was ever to realize its long-betrayed promise of equality, it would need not only to end racial prejudice but also to create a more just economic order.

Timothy Thomas Fortune was one of the most influential Black thinkers of late 19th-century America. Born into slavery in 1856, Fortune came of age during Reconstruction and by the 1880s he had emerged as an uncompromising advocate of full racial and economic equality in the United States. He was the founder, editor, and owner of the influential newspaper The New York Age. Fortune helped found the National Afro-American League, one of the earliest equal rights organizations in the United States, which played a vital role in setting the stage for the Niagra Movement and the NAACP. His work has influenced generations of Civil Rights advocates. He lived in New York City and Red Bank, New Jersey, and died in 1928 at the age of seventy-one in Philadelphia. His house in Red Bank, New Jersey, is a designated National Historic Landmark and now houses the T. Thomas Fortune Foundation and Cultural Center.

  • Publisher: Washington Square Press (February 6, 2007)
  • Length: 256 pages
  • ISBN13: 9780743291040

"An amazing radical and prescient book [that] ought to be in every canon."
-- Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Race Rebels