Martin Delany Criticism - Essay

Howard H. Bell (essay date 1969)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: An introduction to Search for a Place: Black Separatism and Africa, 1860, M. R. Delany and Robert Campbell, The University of Michigan Press, 1969, pp. 1‐22.

[In the following essay, Bell explores Delany's views on Black separatism in the 1850s in the context of such like‐minded figures as Robert Campbell, Henry Highland Garnet, and James M. Whitfield.]

Often, present‐day black separatists look for ways to restore the balance of justice for centuries of oppression by penalizing the white man. Their counterparts a century ago looked often for a place beyond the borders of the United States where they might develop a powerful black nation, the products of...

(The entire section is 7141 words.)

Floyd J. Miller (essay date 1970)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: An introduction to Blake; or, The Huts of America, Beacon Press, 1970, pp. xi‐xxv.

[In the following essay, Miller presents an overview of Delany's life and discusses Blake as the epitome of Delany's pre‐Civil War thought.]

“I beg to call your attention to the Story of ‘Blake or the Huts of America’ now being published in the ‘Anglo‐African Magazine’” Martin R. Delany wrote the noted abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison from a New York boardinghouse in February 1859. In the midst of a lengthy and frustrating attempt to raise money for a proposed African exploring venture (on which he would leave May 24, bound for Liberia), Delany added...

(The entire section is 6671 words.)

Victor Ullman (essay date 1971)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “The Editor,” in Martin R. Delany: The Beginnings of Black Nationalism, Beacon Press, 1971, pp. 52‐86.

[In the following excerpt, Ullman surveys Delany's career as editor of The Mystery, and focuses on his antislavery activities.]

The Mystery was wholly a reflection of its editor. Aside from its news content, which was concerned chiefly with reports on slave‐stealing events, Delany wrote directly to his people on every variety of theme applying to them and exposing every white hypocrisy directed at them. Today, his journalistic colleagues would dismiss him as a propagandist because he thumped a drum rather than pursued the modern course of...

(The entire section is 9084 words.)

Victor Ullman (essay date 1971)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Emigrate!” in Martin R. Delany: The Beginnings of Black Nationalism, Beacon Press, 1971, pp. 141‐71.

[In the following excerpt, Ullman traces the growth of Delany's theory of Black separatism, emphasizing his role in the National Emigration Convention of 1854.]

Condition and Elevation has always been a neglected source of information in the study of the American Negro. The reason may be because it violates the American illusion of democratic equality. It sets forth quite clearly and in detail the genesis of one of today's unmentionables—that the American brand of apartheid differs little in white attitudes from those of South Africa and...

(The entire section is 10307 words.)

Richard Blackett (essay date 1975)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “In Search of International Support for African Colonization: Martin R. Delany's Visit to England, 1860,” in Canadian Journal of History, Vol. X, No. 3, December, 1975, pp. 307‐24.

[In the following essay, Blackett details the events of Delany's visit to England and his attempt to gain support for his separatist plans for American Blacks.]

Movements for social change invariably produce international support organizations, which through lobbying attempt to influence policies and action favorable to their cause. In the first half of the nineteenth century the many revolutionary and nationalist wars in Europe and South America had created their respective...

(The entire section is 8410 words.)

Floyd J. Miller (essay date 1975)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “The Drift toward Emigration,” in The Search for a Black Nationality: Black Emigration and Colonization 1787‐1863, University of Illinois Press, 1975, pp. 93‐133.

[In the following excerpt, Miller discusses Delany's interaction with other leading figures in the abolitionist movement, his disappointment with their ideas, and his eventual espousal of Black separatism and emigration.]

By the summer of 1851, when he first arrived in Canada to lecture on physiology in the weeks before the Toronto convention, Martin R. Delany no longer adhered to the traditional abolitionist shibboleths which he had espoused so frequently and effectively as an editor and...

(The entire section is 6590 words.)

Floyd J. Miller (essay date 1975)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “African Dreams Deferred,” in The Search for a Black Nationality: Black Emigration and Colonization 1787‐1863, University of Illinois Press, 1975, pp. 250‐63.

[In the following excerpt, Miller explores Delany's plans to facilitate emigration of American Blacks to the African country of Yoruba.]

Although neither Martin R. Delany nor any other black emigrationist would explore West Africa again during the 1860's, the African emigration movement did not simply disappear once Delany returned to North America and the African Civilization Society's E. P. Rogers died in Liberia. Rather, both Delany and the Civilization Society's Henry Highland Garnet still...

(The entire section is 5279 words.)

Addison Gayle, Jr. (essay date 1975)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Paradigms of the Early Past,” in The Way of the New World: The Black Novel in America, Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1975, pp. 1‐24.

[In the following excerpt, Gayle presents an overview of The Condition and Blake, concluding that Delany's rejection of the tradition of the Black novel that existed in America up to his time took away the foundation for later Black writers.]

… [Delany] was firm in his conviction that “the man who has suffered the wrong is the man to demand redress—the man struck is the man to cry out—We must be our own representatives and advocates.”1 Only men of such stature, those capable...

(The entire section is 2852 words.)

Robert S. Levine (essay date 1997)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “The Redemption of His Race: Creating Pan‐African Community in Delany's Blake,” in Martin Delany, Frederick Douglass, and the Politics of Representative Identity, The University of North Carolina Press, 1997, pp. 177‐223.

[In the following excerpt, Levine explores Blake as an expression of Delany's ideology, noting that the novel “can be viewed both as an allegorical account of Delany's quest for leadership in the community, circa 1852‐59, and as an engaged response to and intervention in events of 1859‐62. …”]

Martin Delany's Blake; or, The Huts of America (1859‐62) may be read as an effort on his part, comparable with...

(The entire section is 28424 words.)