FACT-CHECKING #6: article in “African American Review” (2005).

This time the mangling of black literature/history by a self-claimed expert in black literature/history is in a journal devoted to black literature/history…

Jennifer C. James,Civil’ War Wounds: William Wells Brown, Violence, and the Domestic Narrative,” in African American Review, Vol. 39, No. 1/2 (Spring-Summer 2005): 39-54. 

FINDINGS: 32+ factual errors in 15 pages.

ITEMS #5, 12, 18, and 28: Fabrications?

aar [click to enlarge]



1. BLACK-HISTORY ERROR, page 39 (first page). JAMES WRITES: “…the Louisiana ‘Native Guards,’ one of the first black regiments raised to fight in the war….”

CORRECTION: Here the article is discussing African-Americans’ alacrity to fight for the Union. Famously, the Louisiana Native Guards–in a Deep-South state–was a militia first raised by free-black mercenaries willing to fight for the pro-slavery Confederacy.  http://www.historynet.com/americas-civil-war-louisiana-native-guards.\htm

2. BLACK-HISTORY ERROR, page 39. JAMES WRITES: “…a non-commissioned black officer, Captain Andre Cailloux…”

CORRECTION: The black Civil War hero from Louisiana was André.

andre     slaveholders  [click to enlarge]

3. BLACK-HISTORY ERROR, page 40. JAMES WRITES: “…the Slaveholder’s Rebellion.”

CORRECTION: The alternate name for the Civil War was the Slaveholders’ Rebellion (plural possessive).  http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/the-slaveholders-rebellion/

4. BLACK-HISTORY ERROR, page 41. JAMES WRITES: “Long before the abolition of slavery was declared an official war aim…”

CORRECTION: This “scholarly” article perpetuates a grade-school myth. Abolition was never an official Civil War aim. Lincoln’s “Emancipation Proclamation” applied only to slave-holding areas “in rebellion” and was a war strategy (to undermine the Confederacy’s slave economy and get ex-slave troops). Of course, the “Border States” for their Union support were allowed to keep slavery throughout the war.

5. FABRICATION? page 42. JAMES WRITES: “[Leading abolitionist William C. Nell] resigned his [government] post in 1864 in anger at the Union’s refusal to grant adequate wages to black soldiers.”

CORRECTION: There’s no citation for this major Nell claim which supports a literary theory–but could not be found in an extensive biographical search.

6. BLACK-HISTORY ERROR, page 42. JAMES WRITES: “At the end of 1865, the Congress…enacted legislation establishing the Freedman’s Bureau.”

CORRECTION: The Freedmen’s Bureau; and…

7. …it was established at the beginning of 1865 (March).  http://www.freedmen.umd.edu/fbact.htm

free    Jonathan_Leavitt_paupers [click to enlarge]

8. BLACK-HISTORY ERROR, page 42. JAMES WRITES: “…’Black Codes’ in the South….Blacks in South Carolina, for instance…could not marry if ‘paupers’…”

CORRECTION: South Carolina’s “Pauper Law” was not a “black code”–i.e. post-Emancipation legislation specifically to hinder ex-slaves. Like pauper-laws (a generic category) in other areas including the North, it dated back to colonial times (seamlessly imported from Europe) and targeted (more numerous) poor whites.

9. BLACK-LITERATURE ERROR, page 42. JAMES WRITES: “…’The Growth of Slave Power,’ a chapter characterizing…”

CORRECTION: The actual title of William Wells Brown’s chapter–“Growth of the Slave-Power“–has an opposite meaning. https://books.google.com/books?id=4-cLAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA37&lpg=PA37&dq=william+wells+brown+growth+of+the+slave+power&source=bl&ots=QmbG0QobPW&sig=0XH4wQFF0-HiHdgry4YruDwVxKg&hl=en&sa=X&ei=qjKfVNTqC82ANom1gYAH&ved=0CCgQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=william%20wells%20brown%20growth%20of%20the%20slave%20power&f=false


10. BLACK-HISTORY ERROR, page 42. JAMES WRITES: “…[laws designed] to keep contra-band [sic] from securing employment.”

CORRECTION: Contraband has no hyphen; and…

11. …the term is also misused. It means ex-slaves personally liberated by the U.S. military–technically as (human) spoils of war. The sentence calls for “ex-slaves” or “freedmen.”  http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/contraband

12. FABRICATION? page 42. JAMES WRITES: “…Crispus Attucks, the fugitive slave who was the first to fall in the Boston Massacre.”

CORRECTION: Serving a literary theory, the article avers definitively that Attucks was a “fugitive slave”–when, famously, historians know little about the “mulatto’s” background. While it’s probable Attucks was formerly enslaved, a runaway/illegal status is pure (romantic) speculation.

13. BLACK-HISTORY ERROR, page 43. JAMES WRITES: “…the slave revolution in Santo Domingo and its leader Toussaint L’Ouverture…”

CORRECTION: Saint-Domingue was Haiti’s name as a French colony–“Santo Domingo” was the neighboring Spanish colony, today’s Dominican Republic; and…

14. Louverture has no apostrophe.

saint-domingue  toussaint  Toussaint-Louverture-Medal

15. BLACK-LITERATURE ERROR, page 43. JAMES WRITES: [William Wells Brown passage:] “…the God of Justice would be on their side.”

CORRECTION: “…the God of Justice would be on the side of the oppressed blacks.” http://whitmanarchive.org/resources/teaching/dickinson/analogue9.html

16. HISTORICAL ERROR, page 43. JAMES WRITES: “…a conflict over ‘state’s rights’…”

CORRECTION: States’ rights (plural possessive).

17. LITERARY ERROR, page 43. JAMES WRITES: “…the Civil War begins thereafter, with black men heeding (albeit unsuccessfully) Lincoln’s call for 75,000 Union volunteers.”

CORRECTION: Ungrammatical–black men heeding Lincoln’s call was successful; what was “unsuccessful” was their enlisting.

18. FABRICATION? page 44. JAMES WRITES: “…what [Martin R.] Delany called the ‘New negro’ black male in his serialized novel ‘Blake, or the Huts of America’…”

CORRECTION: Another counterfeit literary claim–“supporting” a literary theory. It turns out Delany’s 1860s novel “Blake” does not contain the famous phrase “new negro”–first popularized during the 1920s Negro Renaissance, and according to historians, first used in the 1890s (after Delany’s death). An electronic search of “Blake, or the Huts of America” can be easily done at http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/DelBlak.html

19. HISTORICAL ERROR, page 45. JAMES WRITES: “… Andrew Jackson’s 1814 address that recommends commendations for blacks who participated in the War of 1812.”

CORRECTION: Contrary to the article’s explanation, the three-year “War of 1812″ (1812-1815) was still in progress and Jackson was not praising veterans but recruiting soldiers.

1812    ft-pillow-hl [click to enlarge]

20. HISTORICAL ERROR, page 46. JAMES WRITES: “On April 13, 1864, a group of [Confederate] soldiers led by Nathan Bedford Forrest [committed the Fort Pillow Massacre.]” 

CORRECTION: The infamous event was the day before, April 12. http://www.nps.gov/history/hps/abpp/battles/tn030.htm

21. HISTORICAL ERROR, page 46. JAMES WRITES: “Although it [Fort Pillow] had been captured already, blacks did not have the option to surrender and were summarily shot…”

CORRECTION: Yet again serving a literary theory, the article greatly distorts the Fort Pillow Massacre–one of history’s worst war crimes. On April 12, 1864, when Confederates captured the Union stronghold in Tennessee, no one had the option to surrender–in military parlance, there was “no quarter given”–and many whites including women and children were also killed in cold blood. The article makes it a purely “racial” incident.

22. LITERARY ERROR, page 46. JAMES WRITES: “As an anti-slavery polemicist, Brown’s mission…”

CORRECTION: Ungrammatical–the anti-slavery polemicist was not “Brown’s mission” but Brown himself.

23. LITERARY ERROR, page 47. JAMES WRITES: “…though not a President nor a senator…”

CORRECTION: Ungrammatical–“not” and “nor” are never paired.

24. BLACK-HISTORY ERROR, page 47. JAMES WRITES: “[The first published African-American novel, William Wells Brown’s] ‘Clotel’ was serialized in ‘The Weekly Anglo African’…”

CORRECTION: The famous abolitionist magazine published at various intervals was “The [no ‘Weekly’] Anglo-African [hyphen].” 

anglo-african   antislavery     slavery1 [click to enlarge]

25. BLACK-HISTORY ERROR, page 48. JAMES WRITES: “[William Wells Brown addressed] the Anti-Slavery Society….”

CORRECTION: On this occasion abolitionist Brown addressed the “American Anti-Slavery Society”–one of numerous anti-slavery societies in antebellum times.

26. LITERARY ERROR, page 49. JAMES WRITES: [Bible verse (Acts 17:26):] “God hath made one blood of all nations for men to dwell on the face of the earth.”

CORRECTION: “…to dwell on all the face of the earth.”

actsssss    torso [click to enlarge]

27. LITERARY ERROR, page 50. JAMES WRITES: “[William Wells Brown’s ‘Clotel’ character] Jerome…is transformed into a decapitated torso….”

CORRECTION: This greatly misuses “torso” which is a synonym for trunk–by definition headless. Also, the cannonball blows off soldier Jerome’s head but leaves his arms and legs intact–and a “torso” by definition also lacks limbs.

28. FABRICATION? page 50. JAMES WRITES: “…before the destructive capabilities of the modern weapons used in the Civil War had made such an injury [sic] far too common, a head blown from a body was a relatively unfamiliar form of wounding [sic]. ”

CORRECTION: This uncited and patently false “military history” appears concocted to serve a literary theory. Cannon–and flying heads–were battlefield staples since the 1300s, five hundred years before the Civil War (1861-1865).

cannons   14thcenturycannon

30. BLACK-LITERATURE ERROR, page 53. JAMES WRITES: “…John Oliver Killens’s 1962 epic ‘And Then We Heard the Thunder’…”

CORRECTION: The novel was published in 1963http://www.unz.org/Pub/KillensJohn-1963

31. BLACK-LITERATURE ERROR, page 53. JAMES WRITES: “…J.L. Greene’s brief analysis…”

CORRECTION: The prominent black-studies scholar is J. Lee Greene.

greene   fabi [click to enlarge]

32. BLACK-LITERATURE ERROR, page 54. JAMES WRITES: [Another prominent black-studies scholar:] “M. Guilia Fabi.”

CORRECTION: She is M. Giulia Fabi.


Thank you for your interest in this website.

All serious comments/inquiries are welcome, and

any/all warranted amendments to the

six fact-checkings will be made immediately.


–The Fact-checkers



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