Martin R. Delany is one of the most interesting people youâ€™ve never heard of.
He was, over the course of a long life (1812-85), a writer, editor, abolitionist, Harvard medical student, physician, judge, acquaintance of John Brown, and the first African American commissioned a major in the Army. He is also widely considered Americaâ€™s first black nationalist, the forerunner of Marcus Garvey, Paul Robeson, and Malcolm X.
But unless youâ€™re a close student of African American history or 19th-century American literature, chances are very good that you donâ€™t know much about Delany, who stands in the long shadow cast by Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, and W.E.B. DuBois.