Delany, Martin Robison

Delany, Martin Robison

(1812–85) journalist, African-American activist; born in Charles Town, Va. (now W.Va.) Born of a freed black woman and a slave father, he apprenticed himself to a doctor in Pittsburgh (1831); years later (1850) he was admitted to Harvard Medical School but had to leave because of classmates' protests. He founded a black weekly magazine, Mystery (1843–47), and helped Frederick Douglass publish his abolitionist organ, the North Star (1847–49). In an 1852 tract, Delany advocated emigration of blacks, and he traveled to Africa (1859) seeking lands for resettlement. During the Civil War, after recruiting African-Americans to serve in Union regiments, he was commissioned as a major to carry out a scheme for recruiting a black guerrilla army to arm slaves, but the war ended before he could do anything. He criticized the Reconstruction while working as a customs house inspector in Charleston, S.C.; he was nominated for lieutenant governor of South Carolina on the Independent Republican ticket (1874) but lost. He moved to Xenia, Ohio, when the Reconstruction ended. Although never as well known as certain African-American leaders, he has been recognized as a precursor of more militant Black Nationalist movements.
References in classic literature ?
There were men and women, the latter clad for the most part in wrappers, the former in all stages of dishabille.
She was dressed, that is to say, in dishabille, wrapped in a long, warm dressing-gown.
Wherever they went, some pattened girl stopped to curtsy, or some footman in dishabille sneaked off.
The bold des Lupeaulx followed the handsome figure, so piquant did she seem to him in her dishabille.