[AFRICAN-AMERICANS] THOMAS, William Hannibal
The American Negro: What He Was, What He Is, And What He May Become
New York: Macmillan, 1901. First Edition. Octavo (20cm). Publisher's brown cloth boards, spine lettered in gilt; xxvi, 440pp. Embossed "Presentation Copy" stamp to base of title page (but no other presentation markings). Hinges split (internal), with old glue-repair to front hinge; unlovely but holding strong. Otherwise a rather clean copy, with gilt bright and text clean and unmarked. An infamous attack, by an African-American author, against the movement for African-American equal rights. The book, which impugned the morality, intelligence, and loyalty of Black Americans (and Black women in particular), has frequently been cited by white supremacists as material evidence in favor of their efforts to disenfranchise African-American citizens. It is also one of the most blatant examples of "colorism" by a mainstream Black scholar; Thomas, who was himself a mulatto, reserved his most denigrating rhetoric for "pure negro people," who he said were "precluded from reaching a high degree of efficiency...[because] whatever the freedmen has achieved [sic] in the way of intelligence and character is due to alien qualities incorporated into his being through race amalgamation."