Rediscovered after more
than a century of neglect, this important 1879 collection of poems by
the first African American ever elected to the U.S. Congress will
surprise and move new generations of readers. J. Willis Menard grew up
in frontier Illinois as a virtual neighbor of Abraham Lincoln, went on
to serve in the Lincoln administration, and later became an influential
editor, journalist, and political activist in Florida, where he was also
elected to the Florida State Legislature.
For the first time in
print since the 1879 edition, the poems gain new resonance thanks to
accompanying essays and notes by the editors—Larry Eugene Rivers,
Richard Mathews, and Canter Brown Jr. Here is a rich and inspiring book
brimming with history, intellect, emotion, and literary grace.