The Magnificent Reverend Peter Thomas Stanford, Transatlantic Reformer and Race Man
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The Magnificent Reverend Peter Thomas Stanford, Transatlantic Reformer and Race Man

Edited by Barbara McCaskill, Sidonia Serafini and Paul Walker

With Paul Walker

Title Details

Pages: 312

Illustrations: 11 b&w images

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 06/15/2020

ISBN: 9-780-8203-5655-6

List Price: $41.95


Pub Date: 03/01/2024

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6707-1

List Price: $25.95

The Magnificent Reverend Peter Thomas Stanford, Transatlantic Reformer and Race Man

Edited by Barbara McCaskill, Sidonia Serafini and Paul Walker

With Paul Walker

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  • Reviews

Born into slavery in Hampton County, Virginia, orphaned soon thereafter, and raised for almost two years among Native Americans, the charismatic Rev. Peter Thomas Stanford (c. 1860–May 20, 1909) rose from humble and challenging beginnings to emerge as an inventive and passionate activist and educator who championed social justice. During the post- Reconstruction era and early twentieth century, Stanford traversed the United States, Canada, and England advocating for the rights of African Americans, including access to educational opportunities; attainment of the full rights and privileges of citizenship; protections from racial violence, social stereotyping, and a predatory legal system; and recognition of the artistic contributions that have shaped national culture and earned global renown. His imprint on working-class urban residents, Afro-Canadian settlements, and African American communities survives in the institutions he led and the works that presented his imaginative, literate, ardent, and often comic voice.

With a reflection by Highgate Baptist Church’s former pastor, Rev. Dr. Paul Walker, this collection highlights Stanford’s writings: sermons, lectures, newspaper columns, entertainments, and memoirs. Editors Barbara McCaskill and Sidonia Serafini annotate his life and work throughout the volume, placing him within the context of his peers as a writer and editor. As an American expatriate, Stanford was seminal in redirecting antislavery activism into an international antilynching movement and a global campaign to dismantle slavery and slave trading. This book squarely inserts this influential thinker and activist in the African American literary canon.

Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells, and Peter Thomas Stanford helped champion the cause for civil rights, racial justice, and reform in nineteenth-century America. However, only two of their names appear in history books—until now. The Magnificent Reverend Peter Thomas Stanford, Transatlantic Reformer and Race Man is a powerfully written and deeply inspiring book. It is a game-changing story of an incredible African American leader.

—Talitha L. LeFlouria, author of Chained in Silence: Black Women and Convict Labor in the New South

McCaskill and Serafini help readers understand Stanford’s life and work in connection to more familiar figures, such as Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth, David Walker and Henry HighlandGarnet, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Amanda Smith, William Wells Brown and Henry Box Brown, as well as P. T. Barnum. Putting Stanford’s publications in readers’ hands and providing thorough and dynamic context, they have given a gift that will keep on giving.

—Koritha Mitchell, author of Living with Lynching: African American Lynching Plays, Performance, and Citizenship, 1890–1930

Barbara McCaskill and Sidonia Serafini have given us a gift. This meticulously researched volume introduces us to the fascinating writings of the Reverend Peter Thomas Stanford, a prominent nineteenth-century black intellectual and activist who had—until now—been lost to history. Tracing his career across the Atlantic from the United States to Canada to Great Britain and back, McCaskill and Serafini have crafted an exciting biography of a man whose life and activism exemplifies the complexity and dynamism of African American political engagement and literary production from emancipation through the early years of the twentieth century.

—Erica L. Ball, author of To Live an Antislavery Life: Personal Politics and the Antebellum Black Middle Class

About the Author/Editor

Barbara McCaskill (Editor)
BARBARA McCASKILL is a professor of English at the University of Georgia, coorganizer of the Genius of Phillis Wheatley Peters Project, and associate academic director of the Willson Center for Humanities & Arts. She is the coeditor of Post-Bellum, Pre-Harlem: African American Literature and Culture, 1877–1919 and author of Love, Liberation, and Escaping Slavery: William and Ellen Craft in Cultural Memory (Georgia). McCaskill edited and wrote an introduction to the 1860 memoir Running 1,000 Miles for Freedom: The Escape of William and Ellen Craft from Slavery (also Georgia).

Sidonia Serafini (Editor)
SIDONIA SERAFINI is an assistant professor of English at Georgia College & State University. Her essays have appeared in Southern Quarterly, Women’s Studies, and the Journal of Transatlantic Studies, with essays forthcoming in American Periodicals and American Literature. Serafini is coediting a scholarly edition of the slave narrative of John Brown to be published with Georgia.