Thursday, December 13, 2007
WILLIAMS, GEORGE WASHINGTON
WILLIAMS, GEORGE WASHINGTON Prior to W. E. B. Du Bois and Carter G. Woodson, the most accomplished black historian in the United States was George Washington Williams (1849-1891). His major historical works were The History of the Negro Race in America from 1619-1880 (1883) and A History of the Negro Troops in the War of the Rebellion (1888). Although he lacked the objectivity of subsequent black historians, his writing generally was well-received. Of his first book, the Literary World, (Boston) commented that it was "the most nearly satisfactory continuous account yet written of the African in America." The publication of this work, moreover, gained for Williams a degree of national recognition. His speaking engagements increased and he was subsequently appointed Minister to Haiti by President Arthur in 1885. Unfortunately for Williams, before he received his commission the presidency changed hands. The new president, Grover Cleveland, refused to honor Arthur's appointment. Williams died in England six years later.