Black And White by Thomas T Fortune
Originally published in 1884, T. Thomas Fortune’s Black and White is an insightful and clear-eyed exploration of a post-Reconstruction America—one with issues that are still plaguing the United States to this day.
As “the preeminent Black journalist of his age” (Henry Louis Gates, Jr., author of The Black Church), and an early agitator for Civil Rights, Fortune astutely and compellingly analyses the relationship between capitalism and racism in the United States, revealing how the country’s racial hierarchy was and still is rooted in a much larger system of economic exploitation. He argues that in order for The United States to progress and fully embrace its ideals and to truly end racial discrimination, this system must be dismantled, reparations made, and labor fairly reimbursed.
Timothy Thomas Fortune was one of the most influential Black thinkers of late 19th-century America. Born into slavery in 1856, Fortune came of age during Reconstruction and by the 1880s he had emerged as an uncompromising advocate of full racial and economic equality in the United States. He was the founder, editor, and owner of the influential newspaper The New York Age. Fortune helped found the National Afro-American League, one of the earliest equal rights organizations in the United States, which played a vital role in setting the stage for the Niagra Movement and the NAACP. His work has influenced generations of Civil Rights advocates. He lived in New York City and Red Bank, New Jersey, and died in 1928 at the age of seventy-one in Philadelphia. His house in Red Bank, New Jersey, is a designated National Historic Landmark and now houses the T. Thomas Fortune Foundation and Cultural Center.