Book Review: Fredrick L. McGhee:A Life on the Color Line, 1861-1912, by Paul D. Nelson

Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date


Publication Information

58 Minnesota History 188 (2002)


This article favorably reviews a book about African American lawyer Fredrick L. McGhee. The book is dense with facts gleaned from newspapers, government documents—court files, death certificates, census records—and other sources. Occasionally the data clouds the figure of McGhee the man. Nelson skillfully pieces bits of fact together for a portrait of a thoughtful and outspoken public activist for justice. This finely researched book gives a satisfying account of McGhee and his milieu, even as it leaves the reader with mysteries to ponder.