Shadow and Light


Shadow and Light

An Autobiography

Mifflin Wistar Gibbs
Introductions by Booker T. Washington and Tom W. Dillard

450 pages


October 1995


$15.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Adventure, danger, romance—Mifflin W. Gibbs seemed to invite them in his determination to better himself. He staked out considerable success as an entrepreneur and public voice in the American West before moving on to other frontiers.
In California, where he had gone to seek his fortune, he was politically active, protesting the poll tax, editing a newspaper, and generally speaking out. After exile in Canada, necessitated by his civil-rights agitation and the political climate, Gibbs returned to the United States in 1869—to Oberlin, Ohio, where he earned a degree in law. Then he went to Little Rock, Arkansas, serving as a judge until his appointment as U.S. Consul to Madagascar in 1897. Shadow and Light offers many historical sidelights—on the underground railroad young Gibbs knew first hand, the abolition movement, the Spanish-American War, and nineteenth-century race relations. Acting always on his concern for what he called “the progress of the race,” Gibbs won the support and friendship of leaders as diverse as Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington.

Author Bio

Introducing this Bison Books edition is Tom W. Dillard, director of the Arkansas Archives at the University of Central Arkansas, Conway.


“M. W. Gibbs recalls a life of myriad transformations—from a youth of poverty to success in gold rush California to election as the first black municipal judge in America to service as the American consul to Madagascar. And Gibbs tells it all with verve and candor. It is an autobiography worthy of its subject—and just as much worth reading today as when it was first published in 1902.”—Tom W. Dillard

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