This chapter examines eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century visions of apocalypse regarding the future of black lives in the American body politic. It begins with readings of Jefferson’s fear of a black planet in Notes on the State of Virginia and Crèvecoeur’s depictions of racial terror in Letters from an American Farmer. The chapter then investigates the writing of an African American herald of the end times, Christopher MacPherson. The chapter reads the apocalyptic jeremiad of MacPherson’s pamphlet, Christ’s Millennium (1811), as a reparative response to the suppression of black voices and the annihilation of black lives.
Original Publication Information
Mattes, M. (2020). "Race, American Enlightenment, and the End Times." In J. Hay (Ed.), Apocalypse in American Literature and Culture (Cambridge Themes in American Literature and Culture, pp. 97-109). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Mattes, Mark A., "Race, American Enlightenment, and the End Times" (2020). Faculty Scholarship. 840.
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