40 Acres and a Carabao

Excited to see my article on black journalist T. Thomas Fortune’s journey to Hawaii and the Philippines in print in the January 2018 issue of the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. I wish I could have spent more time in Hawaiian and Philippine archives, but I’m happy to have at least supplied a more complete sketch of Fortune’s quest than that which appeared nearly fifty years ago in Emma Lou Thornbrough’s excellent biography of the militant editor.

My experience with JGAPE was very positive—thanks especially to co-editor Benjamin Johnson.

Fortune pose

Images galore at the NYPL…

The New York Public Library recently made more than 187,000 digital images available, all in the public domain and free for use!

I couldn’t help doing a quick search for “Philippines” and “war”; some photos and art below show U.S. portrayal of Filipinos, including depictions of Filipinos through a racial (and racist) black/white binary. (Topsy was the wild slave-child in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s abolitionist novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin; Philippine rebel leader Emiliano Aguinaldo is compared to Topsy in the image from Judge.)


Two reviews, more to come…

I reviewed two history books recently—Cian T. McMahon’s The Global Dimensions of Irish Identity: Race, Nation, and the Popular Press, 1840-1880, and Benjamin P. Fagan’s The Black Newspaper and the Chosen Nation—for the Journal of American Studies and the Journal of American Ethnic History, respectively.

McMahon follows “Young Ireland,” a group of middle-class intellectuals and activists, charting their legacy in Ireland, Australia, and the United States in the mid-to-late nineteenth century, in part through their “international misadventures.” McMahon is convincing in his portrayal of “Irish global nationalism,” including the expression of strong transnational and often cross-racial identities among the Irish. In my review I ask whether McMahon adequately explores the extent to which Irish in the United States “fortified notions of whiteness in their quest to widen the borders of American belonging.”

Fagan’s compelling study of black newspapers traces, from the early 1820s through the Civil War, different expressions of “chosenness”—the author’s term for antebellum African Americans’ belief that God had tasked slaves and freemen with bringing about mankind’s liberation. Like me, Fagan focusses on individual editors, but frequently broadens his approach, examining newspapers as sites of sometimes-contradictory correspondence, business interests, and visual culture.