The first African American to receive a medical degree, this invaluable collection brings together the writings of James McCune Smith, one of the foremost intellectuals in antebellum America. The Selected Writings of James McCune Smith is one of the first anthologies featuring the works of this illustrious scholar. Perhaps best known for his introduction to Fredrick Douglass's My Bondage and My Freedom, his influence is still found in a number of aspects of modern society and social interactions. And he was considered by many to be a prophet of the twenty-first century. One of the earliest advocates of the use of "black" instead of "colored," McCune Smith treated racial identities as social constructions, arguing that American literature, music, and dance would be shaped and defined by blacks. Organized chronologically, the collection covers over 40 years of writing, including speeches, letters, and essays, and begins with McCune Smith's first speech as an 11-year old boy to the Marquis de Lafayette. Providing historical context for McCune Smith's current cultural relevance, this book showcases writings on black education and self-help, citizenship, and the fight against racism.
John Stauffer received his Ph.D. in American Studies at Yale University in 1999 and won the Ralph Henry Gabriel Prize for the best dissertation in American Studies from the American Studies Association.