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Atticus G. Haygood (Atticus Greene), 1839-1896
Our Brother in Black: His Freedom and His Future
New York: Phillips & Hunt, 1881.

Summary

Atticus Haygood's Our Brother in Black is an extended account and exploration of the role of freed slaves in the Reconstruction South. He describes first their numbers and their characteristics, including their poverty, lack of education, and perceived moral shortcomings. He takes pains to point out that the South is the best place for African Americans to live, discrediting a popular campaign of the time that advocated sending all blacks back to Africa. Haygood then addresses emancipation, going into considerable detail about Abraham Lincoln and the motives behind the Proclamation. Throughout this process, Haygood evidences a refusal to condemn white southerners for slavery, and a desire to move past arguments about whether or not emancipation was "right," instead focusing on how best to move forward now that the slaves have been freed.

The remainder of the book moves from this point. Haygood describes the antipathy between North and South and then condemns it, refusing to take sides. He then turns to an examination of how to prepare freed slaves for full participation in the community—not, as Haygood is careful to point out, simply for voting. To that end, he describes efforts at educating African Americans, including missionary work and the establishment of black colleges. He discusses African American community life, their relationships to the land, and their religion, ending on a short examination of contemporary and future black missionary work in Africa.

Christopher Hill

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