The period of 1850-1865 consisted of violent struggle and crisis as the United States underwent the prodigious transition from slaveholding to ostensibly 'free' nation. This volume reframes mid-century African American literature and challenges our current understandings of both African American and American literature. It presents a fluid tradition that includes history, science, politics, economics, space and movement, the visual, and the sonic. Black writing was highly conscious of transnational and international politics, textual circulation, and revolutionary imaginaries. Chapters explore how Black literature was being produced and circulated; how and why it marked its relation to other literary and expressive traditions; what geopolitical imaginaries it facilitated through representation; and what technologies, including print, enabled African Americans to pursue such a complex and ongoing aesthetic and political project.