Here is our first installment of “The Author’s Corner,” our new series in which we interview authors of new and forthcoming books in American history. Enjoy. –John
Gerald Horne is a Professor of United States History at the University of Houston. This interview is based on his new book, The Counter Revolution of 1776: Slavery Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America (NYU Press forthcoming, April 2014)
JF: What led you to write The Counter Revolution of 1776?
JH: I was dissatisfied with the traditional narrative of the origins of the USA and my research for my previous book–Negro Comrades of the Crown: African-Americans & the British Empire Fight the U.S. Before Emancipation, NYU Press, 2014–convinced me that the traditional narrative was little more than a “creation myth.”
JF: In 2 sentences, what is the argument of The Counter Revolution of 1776?
JH: Slavery was at the heat of the founding of this “republic”, along with the ability of enslaved Africans to align with Spain, France and indigenous nations against London and British settlers.
JF: Why do we need to read The Counter Revolution of 1776?
JF: When and why did you decide to become an American historian?
JH: In part I drifted into History after I sensed that my career as a labor and civil rights lawyer was reaching a cul de sac as courts were turning sharply to the right.
JF: What is your next project?
JH: I am working on a number or projects: A re-interpretation of the centrality of Haiti as a factor in 19th century U.S. politics; African-Americans & Aviation before Sputnik; pro-Tokyo Negroes before 1945; a biography of Paul Robeson; an account of the global coverage of the Black Press before Jim Crow’s demise.
JF: Thanks, Gerald. Great stuff!
Thanks to Megan Piette for organizing and facilitating The Author’s Corner.