Boston: Sherman, French & Co, 1912. First edition. Original publisher's cloth binding with gilt to spine and front board. Retaining bright gilt but generally a bit shelfworn on extremities and front board; spine gently rolled. Internally fresh, unmarked, and complete: , 207, [1, blank]. A scarce depiction of modern Black American experience, OCLC records 22 physical copies at institutions, and it has sold at auction only twice in the last 25 years. The present is the only copy on the market.
One of the first novels to "present a frank picture of being Black in America," The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man is "masked in the tradition of the literary confession practiced by such writers as St. Augustine and Rousseau. This 'autobiography' purports to be a candid account of its narrator's private views and feelings as well as an acknowledgement of the central secret of his life: that though he lives as a white man he is, by heritage and experience, African American. Written by the first Black executive director of the NAACP, Autobiography...anticipates the social realism of the Harlem Renaissance writers. In its unprecedented analysis of the social causes of a Black man's denial of the best within himself," it is an unforgettable and important work (Andrews). (Item #4422)