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Elizabeth R. Varon

Chapter 5 discusses the life and work of Joseph T. Wilson, a Civil War veteran, through his literary career. Rather than examining Wilson’s book, The Black Phalanx: African American Soldiers in the War of Independence, the War of 1812, and the Civil War, solely as a reference work, Elizabeth R. Varon argues that Wilson’s career as a writer was inseparable from his political activism. In this chapter, Varon considers how Wilson’s lived experiences during the war and, later, in postwar Norfolk impacted and informed his writing.