"The West Point Mob". Broadside on racism at the Academy. Black Interest, Racism, West Point.

"The West Point Mob". Broadside on racism at the Academy.

Peterboro, New Hampshire: 1871. Scarce broadside condemning the racism and "pro slavery caste spirit" at West Point just following the Civil War, and advocating its closing.

The author condemns what he terms "mob behavior" and an incident in which West Point cadets kidnapped and threatened to tar and feather several African Americans. He also decries the racism which drove the first black appointed to a cadetship, James Webster Smith (1850-1876), out of the Academy in 1874.

Smith was a highly talented former slave, born in South Carolina in 1850, and nominated to attend West Point while a student at Howard University. He was harassed, resented and isolated by classmates, all of which culminated in confrontations and three court martials. In 1874 Smith was deemed insufficient in studies by a professor who recommended a formal discharge.

The author of the broadside is Gerrit Smith (1797-1874) an important abolitionist, politician and philanthropist. Smith was a member of the Secret Six who financially supported John Brown's raid at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. He assisted hundreds of African Americans by purchasing their freedom, arranging passage to Canada for some, while helping others locally.

8 1/2 X 14". Period folds flattened, otherwise very good condition. OCLC: 25107300 cites 11 libraries. Rare in the trade. Very good condition. Item #24360

Price: $650.00

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