American Lazarus: Religion and the Rise of African American and Native American Literatures

Paperback | June 15, 2007

byJoanna Brooks

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The 1780s and 1790s were a critical era for communities of color in the new United States of America. Even Thomas Jefferson observed that in the aftermath of the American Revolution, "the spirit of the master is abating, that of the slave rising from the dust." This book explores the means bywhich the very first Black and Indian authors rose up to transform their communities and the course of American literary history. It argues that the origins of modern African-American and American Indian literatures emerged at the revolutionary crossroads of religion and racial formation as earlyBlack and Indian authors reinvented American evangelicalism and created new postslavery communities, new categories of racial identification, and new literary traditions. While shedding fresh light on the pioneering figures of African-American and Native American cultural history--including Samson Occom, Prince Hall, Richard Allen, Absalom Jones, and John Marrant--this work also explores a powerful set of little-known Black and Indian sermons, narratives, journals,and hymns. Chronicling the early American communities of color from the separatist Christian Indian settlement in upstate New York to the first African Lodge of Freemasons in Boston, it shows how eighteenth-century Black and Indian writers forever shaped the American experience of race and religion.American Lazarus offers a bold new vision of a foundational moment in American literature. It reveals the depth of early Black and Indian intellectual history and reassesses the political, literary, and cultural powers of religion in America.

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The 1780s and 1790s were a critical era for communities of color in the new United States of America. Even Thomas Jefferson observed that in the aftermath of the American Revolution, "the spirit of the master is abating, that of the slave rising from the dust." This book explores the means bywhich the very first Black and Indian author...

Joanna Brooks is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literarture at San Diego State University

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:June 15, 2007Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195332911

ISBN - 13:9780195332919

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Table of Contents

American Lazarus: An IntroductionChapter 1. Race, Religion, and RegenerationChapter 2. Samson Occom and the Poetics of Native RevivalChapter 3. John Marrant and the Lazarus Theology of the Early Black AtlanticChapter 4. Prince Hall Freemasonry: Secrecy, Authority, and CultureChapter 5. Black Identity and Yellow Fever in PhiladelphiaConclusion: Lazarus LivesAppendix 1: Samson Occom's Collection of Divine Hymns and Spiritual Songs (1774)Appendix 2: Author-Unknown Hymns Original to Occom's CollectionAppendix 3: Original Hymns by Samson OccomNotesBibliography

Editorial Reviews

"In American Lazarus Joanna Brooks applies a new and highly effective paradigm to the emergence of African American and Native American voices in eighteenth-century British America. As she explores the confluence of evangelical religion and revolutionary ideology that gave rise to such writesas Samson Occom, John Marrant, and Prince Hall, Brooks reinvigorates a long tradition of American Studies scholarship. Well-written and learned, American Lazarus should find a wide audience." --Philip F. Gura, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill