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Black Judas : William Hannibal Thomas and The American Negro /
John David Smith.
Athens : University of Georgia Press, c2000.
xxvi, 386 p.
0820321303 (alk. paper)
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Athens : University of Georgia Press, c2000.
0820321303 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
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Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2000-07-01:
In Black Judas Smith examines a contradiction. William Hannibal Thomas was by birth and identified himself as a "mulatto," or as he preferred to call himself, a "colored American." Thomas served with the Union army in the Civil War, losing an arm in 1865. During Reconstruction he was briefly a member of the South Carolina legislature and was variously a lawyer, financial agent, and minister. Yet this same William Thomas in 1901 wrote a book entitled The American Negro, in which he condemned Negroes as inferior, degraded, and sensuous. Thomas even suggested that black men frequently carried on incestuous relationships with their stepdaughters, with the full knowledge and consent of their wives. He characterized blacks as criminals and rapists who lusted after white women, and urged that black rapists be castrated and exterminated. Smith attempts to explain Thomas's amazing transformation from war hero to severe critic of the black race. He felt unjustly rejected by the white world and blamed this rejection on the "depraved" behavior of blacks rather than on the prejudice of many whites. The sad story of a tormented man consumed by self-hatred. All levels. W. Glasker; Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Camden
Appeared in Library Journal on 1999-11-01:
Smith (history, North Carolina State Univ.; An Old Creed for the New South) seeks to explain why an African American would write one of the most racist books ever published. Previous historians have avoided a study of William Hannibal Thomas (1843-1935) owing to insufficient biographical documentation, the unscientific underpinnings of his research, and his checkered career. As preacher, teacher, lawyer, trial justice, state legislator, and journalist, this native Ohioan had championed the freedman's cause in the post-Civil War years. By the mid-1890s, however, he was attacking members of his race, propounding racial inferiority, and demanding a complete and radical redemption of black America guided by his racist tome, The American Negro: What He Was, What He Is, and What He May Become (1901). Shunned by the black community after its publication and in constant pain from an old Civil War wound, he led a solitary life until his death at age 92. The author successfully portrays Thomas as a "reformer-gone-wrong," a self-hater whose book was more autobiographical than anything else. Smith's occasionally excessive detail and use of statistics can be distracting. Recommended for African American collections and academic libraries.ÄJohn Carver Edwards, Univ. of Georgia Libs., Athens Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, November 1999
Booklist, December 1999
Choice, July 2000
Reference & Research Book News, August 2000
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introduction--An African American Enigmap. xix
Student, Servant, Soldierp. 1
Questions of Characterp. 38
Missed Opportunities and Unresolved Allegationsp. 67
Lawyer and Legislator in South Carolinap. 93
U.S. Consul and Racial Reformerp. 127
Author of The American Negrop. 162
A Man Without a Racep. 191
I Am Alone in the Worldp. 235
Epilogue--A Tragic Mulatto and a Tragic Negrop. 262
The Multiple William H. Thomasesp. 279
Circular Letter From the Committee on Morals and Religion for 1901, Hampton Negro Conferencep. 287
Notesp. 289
Indexp. 369
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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