THEOPHILUS GOULD STEWARD, chaplain for the Twenty-Fifth US Colored Infantry, the famous “Buffalo Soldiers,” spoke at the Columbian Exposition of 1893 and argued that the United States must found a new American race, rather than “getting all of its glory from a Saxonism long defunct, and that, in fact never had but slight foothold upon this Western world.” Recounting the manifold achievements of Americans who had founded and sustained a representative government, “rescued land from wilderness and filled it with cities,” and developed the most prosperous nation on earth, he asserted that such achievements were sufficient to found a people. The alternative was far less palatable: “Must the American people still learn their own character from the musty and unreliable records of a handful of transatlantic savages?” he asked, eviscerating the alleged superiority of white Anglo-Saxons by labeling them with a term more often applied to “uncivilized” peoples of color....

You do not currently have access to this content.