Black Hearts of Men Reviews

Black Hearts of Men Reviews


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



This is a major work of historical analysis and argument, a work that will make

a difference in the study of reform, white-black relations, personal relations among men



The Black Hearts of Men

Radical Abolitionists and The Transformation of Race

By John Stauffer



At a time when slavery was spreading and the country was steeped in racism, two white men and two black men overcame social barriers and mistrust to form a unique alliance that sought nothing less than the end of all evil. Drawing on the largest extant biracial correspondence in the Civil War era, John Stauffer braids together these men’s struggles to reconcile ideals of justice with the reality of slavery and oppression.


Who could imagine that Gerritt Smith, one of the richest men in the country, would give away his wealth to the poor and ally himself with Frederick Douglass, an ex-slave? And why would James McCune Smith, the most highly educated black man in the country, link arms with John Brown, a bankrupt entrepreneur, along with the others? Distinguished by their interracial bonds, they shared a millennialist vision of a new world in which everyone was free and equal.

As the nation headed toward armed conflict, these men waged their own war by establishing model interracial communities, forming a new political party, and embracing violence. Their revolutionary ethos bridged the divide between the sacred and the profane, black and white, masculine and feminine, and civilization and savagery that had long girded Western culture. In so doing, it embraced a malleable and “black-hearted” self that was capable of violent revolt against a slaveholding nation, in order to usher in a kingdom of God on Earth. In tracing the rise and fall of these men’s vision and alliance, Stauffer reveals how radical reform helped propel the nation toward war war even as it strove to vanquish slavery and preserve the peace.—Publisher, Book Cover


John Stauffer has written an extremely original, powerful, and brilliant book. he uses the issues of race, identity, and abolitionism to illuminate some of the deepest currents of change in mid-nineteenth-century America. He brings to his breathtaking research not only a broad knowledge of the history of slavery, religion, and reform movements, but the skills and sensitivity to material culture of a professional photographer. This book should become a classic–surely one of the very best books ever written on American abolitionists.—David Brion Davis, author of The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture


Stauffer has written one of the most original books on abolitionism in years especially illuminating the religious and strategic evolution toward violence in the antislavery movement, and bringing Gerrit Smith’s rise and fall to light as never before. A masterful execution of collective biography, this is the story of how four brilliant men prepared to destroy slavery, and the price they paid to imagine an America that could conquer race.—David Blight, author of Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory


This is a major work of historical analysis and argument, a work that will make a difference in the study of reform, white-black relations, personal relations among men, and social action in the antebellum period. At times the book reads like a novel, or a novelistic narrative, in the best sense: not an attempt to fictionalize historical documents, but to make documented actions and thoughts, motives and regrets, present to the reader.—Alan Trachtenberg, Yale University


The Black hearts of men remarkable relationships among four vibrant white and black abolitionists–Gerrit Smith, John Brown, Frederick Douglass, and James McCune Smith–whose embrace of perfectionism and violence ultimately spawned John Brown’s fateful, apocalyptic raid at Harper’s ferry. Few books so compellingly uplift the personal and intellectual dimensions of radical abolitionism, and Stauffer’s exceptional portraits grippingly explore the human dimensions that fueled America’s cataclysmic moral struggle against slaveholding.—Jon Butler, author of Becoming America: The Revolution Before 1776









One The Radical Abolitionist Call to Arms


Two Creating an Image in Black


Three Glimpsing God’s World on Earth


Four The Panic and the Making of Abolitionists


Five Bible Politics and the Creation of the Alliance


Six Learning from Indians


Seven Man Is Woman and Woman Is Man


Eight The Alliance Ends and the War Begins










    Source: John Stauffer. The Black  Hearts of Men: Radical Abolitionists and the Transformation of Race. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002.  

*   *   *   *   *


JOHN STAUFFER is the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University.  He 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.  His first book, The Black Hearts of Men:  Radical Abolitionists and the Transformation of Race (Harvard University Press, 2002) was the co-winner of the 2002 Frederick Douglass Book Prize from the Gilder Lehrman Institute; winner of the Avery Craven Book Prize from the OAH; and the Lincoln Prize runner-up.  He is completing an edition of Frederick Douglass’ My Bondage and My Freedom for the Modern Library; editing a collection of John Brown’s writings; and writing a new book, “The American Sublime:  Interracial Friendships and the Dilemma of Democracy.”  

The Problem of Evil: Slavery, Freedom, And the Ambiguities of American Reform . Edited by Steven Mintz and John Stauffer


*   *   *   *   *’s 25 Best Selling Books



#1 – Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark #2 – Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree #3 – Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane #4 – Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper #5 – Stackin’ Paper 2 Genesis’ Payback by Joy King #6 – Thug Lovin’ (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark #7 – When I Get Where I’m Going by Cheryl Robinson #8 – Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby #9 – The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 – Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 – Don’t Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 – For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 – Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 – Purple Panties: An Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King

#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter


#1 – Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable #2 – Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans #3 – Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane #4 – Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper #5 – Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant #6 – Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey #7 – The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight #8 – The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing #9 – The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

*   *   *   *   *

A History of the Black Press By Armistead S. Pride and Clint C. Wilson II

In this work, Dr. Wilson chronicles the development of black newspapers in New York City and draws parallels to the development of presses in Washington, D.C., and in 46 of the 50 United States. He describes the involvement of the press with civil rights and the interaction of black and nonblack columnists who contributed to black- and white-owned newspapers. . . . Through reorganization and exhaustive research to ascertain source materials from among hundreds of original and photocopied documents, clippings, personal notations, and private correspondence in Dr. Pride’s files, Dr. Wilson completed this compelling and inspiring study of the black press from its inception in 1827 to 1997.

This is a major and noteworthy contribution to scholarship on the African American press. As Washington Post columnist Dorothy Gilliam concludes in the foreword, “Pride and Wilson’s comprehensive history is a lasting tribute to the men and women within the black press of both the past and the present and to those who will make it what it will be in the future.

*   *   *   *   * 

Pictures and Progress

Early Photography and the Making of African American Identity

Edited by Maurice O. Wallace and Shawn Michelle Smith

Pictures and Progress explores how, during the nineteenth century and the early twentieth, prominent African American intellectuals and activists understood photography’s power to shape perceptions about race and employed the new medium in their quest for social and political justice. They sought both to counter widely circulating racist imagery and to use self-representation as a means of empowerment. In this collection of essays, scholars from various disciplines consider figures including Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and W. E. B. Du Bois as important and innovative theorists and practitioners of photography. In addition, brief interpretive essays, or “snapshots,” highlight and analyze the work of four early African American photographers. Featuring more than seventy images, Pictures and Progress brings to light the wide-ranging practices of early African American photography, as well as the effects of photography on racialized thinking.

*   *   *   *   *

The Black Hearts of Men

Radical Abolitionists and The Transformation of Race

By John Stauffer

John Stauffer’s new volume  The Black  Hearts of Men introduces us to four nineteenth-century civil rights activists who attempted to live as if the future they needed had already come.  And hence Stauffer’s study reminds us that the future of cross-racial and cross-cultural alliances may depend upon remembering that such alliances have had an honorable past, one that allowed individuals to transcend such political constructs as race, gender, class, age, or the other boundaries created by societies. Stauffer’s study, an intertwined biography of four men–two white, two black–recounts, in its basic story line, the events and experiences that led them to found a political party based upon their Christian beliefs concerning the necessity of bringing about a new future for American slavery, race relations, and democracy. Convening a small conference in Syracuse, New York, in the summer of 1855, Gerrit Smith, James McCune Smith, Frederick Douglass, and John Brown founded the Radical Abolition Party, which lasted five years, and polled a few thousand votes in its various political campaigns between 1855 and 1860.

*   *   *   *   *

The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

*   *   *   *   *

Ancient African Nations

*   *   *   *   *

If you like this page consider making a donation

online through PayPal

*   *   *   *   *

Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues

1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        


*   *   *   *   *

The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery

*   *   *   *   *

The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

*   *   *   *   *


*   *   *   *   *






update 13 June 2012




Home  Visual Artists and Their Works   Alternative Media & the Black Press  

Civil Rights: Struggle for Black Power

  Education & History  Schomburg Quarles

Related files:   Black Hearts Review  More Black Hearts Reviews     Black Hearts of Men Introduction  The Works of James McCune Smith

Post Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.