Skip to main content

View Diary: Political Book Club: The Black Count (15 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  What a fascinating piece of lost history. (5+ / 0-)
    This masterful biography reminded me that the hard-fought gains that we in the US have made for women, minorities and workers can be wiped out in the blink of an eye.
    What a soul-crushing fate! Imagine being born into a benighted world, where for centuries blacks had so little hope for fairness and possibility. But you're born into a rising sun, and you rise with it to the top of society. Only to have the night come crashing down around you, and all your possibilities vanish.

    I did know Dumas the writer was black, as was St. Augustine. Pushkin had a great-grandfather who was an African slave (but became a major-general, a governor, and a Russian nobleman). And there's Frederick Douglass.

    Does anyone know any other black authors, who achieved success before 1850?

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Mon May 06, 2013 at 12:50:24 PM PDT

    •  Good question. I was once lucky enough to pick out (5+ / 0-)

      of a sale bin the Daughters of Africa: An International Anthology of Words and Writings by Women of African Descent From the Ancient Egyptian to the Present. It is a wonderful anthology and includes the poetry and songs of Africa as well as the words of the Queen of Sheba speaking of the Wisdom of Solomon.

      There is a large gap after that until the poetry of Lucy Terry in written in 1746, but not published until 1855, long after she had been freed, married, living and then dying in Vermont in 1821.

      We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty - Edward R. Murrow

      by Susan Grigsby on Mon May 06, 2013 at 01:13:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Very knowledgeable answer, thank you. (4+ / 0-)

        I'm impressed.

        There may be several more among the Romans, Greeks and Fathers of the Church, what with all the trade, conquest and intermingling in the ancient Mediterranean. And among the cream of Islam, a millennium later.

        There will be others, whose lineage we are simply unaware of. Machado de Assis has been called the greatest Brazilian writer, and Harold Bloom calls him "the supreme black literary artist to date" - but he began publishing in 1864. There certainly may be others from South and Central America, and possibly the Caribbean.

        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

        by Brecht on Mon May 06, 2013 at 01:45:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not sure if "black" (5+ / 0-)

          would describe Publius Terentius Afer...

          But he was African, was a slave, and one of the greatest playwrights of ancient Rome.

          •  It was interesting to write this diary and use (4+ / 0-)

            an appropriate racial descriptor for General Dumas. African American was clearly out, but using the term used during his lifetime, American, would make little sense to current American readers. So I used the term black from the title.

            When General Dumas led his troups into battle against the Austrians in the Alps,

            “[ Dumas] flies from one city to another, from one village to another, hacking everything to pieces,” runs one account, “capturing two thousand prisoners here, one thousand there, he performs truly fantastic charges.” The Austrians came up with a name for the relentless French general who stalked them through the snow: die schwarze Teufel, the “Black Devil.”
            Reiss, Tom (2012-09-18). The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo (p. 207). Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

            We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty - Edward R. Murrow

            by Susan Grigsby on Mon May 06, 2013 at 07:02:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site