George Washington Williams,: A Biography

John Hope Franklin, Author University of Chicago Press $24.95 (348p) ISBN 978-0-226-26083-9
Despite talent, ambition and a flair for self-promotion, black historian Williams (18491891) was, even in his lifetime, something of an obscure figure. Franklin, himself a historian, first became aware of Williams in 1945 (while researching his book From Slavery to Freedom), and in ensuing years has worked with scant materials (Williams left no papers) to write this excellent biography. Williams, son of a former slave, driven by an ""almost desperate desire'' to distinguish himself, had many notable careersclergyman, editor-publisher, politician (Ohio's first black legislator) and diplomat, among others. Above all, he was a pioneering historian, the first to write a scholarly history of American blacks. In this beautifully researched work, Franklin explores Williams's many flaws and excesses and recounts his brilliant achievements on behalf of himself and his race. Photos. November
Reviewed on: 11/01/1985
Release date: 11/01/1985
Genre: Nonfiction
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