Born into slavery in Hampton County, Virginia, orphaned soon thereafter, and raised for almost two years among Native Americans,
the charismatic Rev. Peter Thomas Stanford (c. 1860-May 20, 1909) rose from humble and challenging beginnings to emerge as
an inventive and passionate activist and educator who championed social justice. During the post- Reconstruction era and early
twentieth century, Stanford traversed the United States, Canada, and England advocating for the rights of African Americans,
including access to educational opportunities; attainment of the full rights and privileges of citizenship; protections from
racial violence, social stereotyping, and a predatory legal system; and recognition of the artistic contributions that have
shaped national culture and earned global renown. His imprint on working-class urban residents, Afro-Canadian settlements,
and African American communities survives in the institutions he led and the works that presented his imaginative, literate,
ardent, and often comic voice.
With a reflection by Highgate Baptist Church's former pastor, Rev. Dr. Paul Walker,
this collection highlights Stanford's writings: sermons, lectures, newspaper columns, entertainments, and memoirs. Editors
Barbara McCaskill and Sidonia Serafini annotate his life and work throughout the volume, placing him within the context of
his peers as a writer and editor. As an American expatriate, Stanford was seminal in redirecting antislavery activism into
an international antilynching movement and a global campaign to dismantle slavery and slave trading. This book squarely inserts
this influential thinker and activist in the African American literary canon.