By Winston James
John Brown Russwurm (1799-1851) is almost completely missing from the annals of the Pan-African movement, despite the pioneering role he played as an educator, abolitionist, editor, government official, emigrationist, and colonizationist. Russwurm's life is one of "firsts": first African American graduate of Maine's Bowdoin College [class of 1826], co-founder of Freedom's Journal, America's first newspaper to be owned, operated, and edited by African Americans, and, following his emigration to Africa, first black governor of the Maryland section of Liberia. Despite his accomplishments, Russwurm struggled internally with the perennial Pan-Africanist dilemma of whether to go to Africa or stay and fight in the United States, and his ordeal was the first of its kind to be experienced and resolved before the public eye.
With this thoroughly researched but accessible biography of Russwurm and a carefully annotated selection of Russwurm's writings, Winston James makes a major contribution to the history of black uplift and protest in the early American republic and the larger Pan-African world.
-From the back cover.