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Decades before Marcus Garvey, W. E. B. Du Bois, and Malcolm X, Martin Robison Delany (1812–1885) proclaimed his pride in being black, and demanded not only emancipation but independence for African Americans. Grandson of an African prince, son of a slave, Delany lived a life of singular achievement: the first African-American explorer to venture into the heart of Africa; the publisher, editor, and writer of one of the first black newspapers in the U.S.; one of the first three blacks admitted to Harvard Medical School; the first black to hold field grade rank of U.S. Army major during the Civil War; as well as prominent careers as an author, doctor, ethnologist, orator, judge, Freedmen’s Bureau official, and spokesman for black nationalism. This assiduously researched biography brings into vivid focus the life and times of Delany, whose militant, uncompromising voice is as vital today as it was more than a century ago.

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