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Memoirs of the Life, Religious Experience, Ministerial Travels, and Labours of Mrs. Elaw cover, woodblock image of Mrs. Elaw

Sutton E. Griggs
Edited by Tess Chakkalakal and
Kenneth W. Warren

Available now!
October 2022
PB 978-1-952271-58-8
eBook 978-1-952271-59-5

Regenerations Series

Imperium in Imperio


Sutton E. Griggs’s first novel, originally published in 1899, paints a searing picture of the violent enforcement of disfranchisement and Jim Crow racial segregation. Based on events of the time, including US imperial policies, revolutionary movements, and racial protests, Imperium in Imperio introduces the fictional Belton Piedmont and Bernard Belgrave as “future leaders of their race” and uses these characters to make sense of the violence that marked the dawn of the twentieth century. Taking on contemporary battles over separatism and integration, Griggs’s novel continues to play a crucial role in understandings of Black politics.

Edited and introduced by Tess Chakkalakal and Kenneth W. Warren, this new critical edition offers not only an incisive biographical and historical introduction to the novel and its author but also a wealth of references that make the events and characters of Griggs’s Imperium in Imperio, and its aftermath, accessible to readers today.


Chronology: Life and Times of Sutton E. Griggs
Textual Note 

Imperium in Imperio 

Appendix A: The Lynching of Postmaster Frazier B. Baker
Appendix B: The Story of My Struggles (1914) by Sutton E. Griggs
Appendix C: Griggs and the Richmond Planet
Appendix D: Signed First Edition
Appendix E: The Virginian Pilot
Appendix F: Promotional Materials and Contemporary Review of Imperium in Imperio
Appendix G: Speeches


Tess Chakkalakal is associate professor of Africana studies and English at Bowdoin College and the author of Novel Bondage: Slavery, Marriage, and Freedom in Nineteenth-Century America.

Kenneth W. Warren is Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor in English at the University of Chicago and the author of What Was African American Literature?


“An excellent edition that will make this important work more accessible to scholars and students alike.”
Benjamin Fagan, author of The Black Newspaper and the Chosen Nation