William Wells Brown (1814-1884), a former slave and abolitionist leader, wrote the first novel published by an African American. He wrote the first military history of African Americans, The Negro in the American Rebellion. This text assailed those whose hatred and ignorance inclined them to keep blacks oppressed after Appomattox.
In 1863, as the Civil War raged, the escaped slave, abolitionist, and novelist William Wells Brown identified two groups most harmful to his race. “The first and most relentless,” he explained, “are those who have done them the greatest injury, by being instrumental in their enslavement and consequent degradation.