The Black Newspaper and the Chosen Nation (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press), 2016; paperback 2018.

Honorable Mention, Research Society for American Periodicals Book Prize, 2017.

“[Fagan’s] ability to drill down into individual newspapers while demonstrating the ways that they are in conversation over several decades (and his attention to the overlapping characters whose lives intersect across the pages and within the printing rooms of the newspapers he examines) makes [this] an exciting book.” Prize Committee, Research Society for American Periodicals Book Prize.

“Fagan’s work invites us and teaches us how to read like a nineteenth-century newspaper reader, attuned to the unexpected and the unintended, and alive to the possibility of different American futures. It is this invitation that ultimately makes his book such a rewarding and invigorating read.” Common-place: The Journal of Early American Life

“The Black Newspaper and the Chosen Nation is a well-written, original, and thoughtful book that makes a significant contribution to the study of the early U.S. newspaper, the early black press, and early African American print culture, writ large.” Early American Literature

The Black Newspaper and the Chosen Nation is a unique and refreshing perspective on the historic significance of the antebellum black press.” Journal of African American History

The Black Newspaper and the Chosen Nation shows how antebellum African Americans used the newspaper as a means for translating their belief in black “chosenness” into plans and programs for black liberation. During the decades leading up to the Civil War, the idea that God had marked black Americans as his chosen people on earth became a central article of faith in northern black communities, with black newspaper editors articulating it in their journals. This book looks closely at the ways in which the early black press helped shape the relationship between black chosenness and the struggles for black freedom and equality in America, in the process transforming the very notion of a chosen American nation. Exploring how cultures of print helped antebellum black Americans apply their faith to struggles grand and small, The Black Newspaper and the Chosen Nation uses the vast and neglected archive of the early black press to shed new light on many of the central figures and questions of African American studies.

Read an excerpt here.


“The Fragments of Black Reconstruction,” American Literary History 30.3 (Fall 2018)

The North Star and the Atlantic 1848,” African American Review 47.1 (Spring 2014): 51-67.

“‘Americans As They Really Are’: The Colored American and the Illustration of National Identity,” American Periodicals 21.2 (Fall 2011): 97-119.

Winner, Research Society for American Periodicals Article Prize, 2012.

“Reclaiming Revolution: William Wells Brown’s Irreducible Haitian Heroes,” Comparative American Studies 5.4 (December 2007): 367-383.


“‘Feebler than the Original’: Translation and Early Black Transnationalism,” Transnational American Studies, ed. Udo Hebel (Heidelberg: WinterVerlag, 2012), 229-248.


Blake and the Black Newspaper,” contribution to a forum on Martin Delany, Blake, or, The Huts of America, ed. Jerome McGann, American Periodicals 28.1 (March 2018): 78-80.

Review of Daniel Hack, Reaping Something New: African American Transformations of Victorian Literature, Nineteenth-Century Literature 72.2 (September 2017): 252-256.

“Revolutionary Neighbors” (Review of Elizabeth Dillon & Michael Drexler, eds., The Haitian Revolution and the Early United States: Histories, Textualities, Geographies), Common-Place 17.2 (2017): np.

Review Essay of Jonathan Daniel Wells, Women Writers and Journalists in the Nineteenth-Century South; Sharon D. Kennedy-Nolle, Writing Reconstruction: Race, Gender, and Citizenship in the Postwar South; Barbara McCaskill, Love, Liberation, and Escaping Slavery: William and Ellen Craft in Cultural Memory, in Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers 33.2 (December 2016): 422-432.


“Speaking Out in Thunder Tones: Black Chosenness and ‘Our Government’ in the Earliest Black Newspapers,” The Readex Report 13.1 (March 2018): np.

“Chronicling White America,” contribution to “Digital Approaches to Periodical Studies” forum, American Periodicals 26.1 (Spring 2016): 10-13.

“Harriet Jacobs’s Rogue Reading,” contribution to “Where are the Women in Black Print Culture Studies?” forum, Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers 33.1 (June 2016): 10-13.