Portable Nineteenth-Century African American Women Writers



Portable Nineteenth-Century African American Women Writers

This edition

"The Portable Nineteenth-Century African American Women Writers" . Ed. Hollis Robbins and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. New York: Penguin, 2017. xl+613 pp.

Table of contents

• Henry Louis Gates, Jr. / What Is an African American Classic?
• Hollis Robbins and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. / Introduction
• Suggestions for further reading.

Personal Accounts of Abolition and Freedom:
• Anonymous / "Address to the Female Literary Association of Philadelphia, on Their First Anniversary: By a Member" (1832)
• Sojourner Truth (ca. 1797-1883) / "Speech Delivered to Women's Rights Convention of Akron Ohio" (1851): "Anti-Slavery Bugle" version (1851) and Frances D. Gage version (1863)
• Sojourner Truth / Selections on Western Settlement from "Narrative of Sojourner Truth" (1875): Petition to Congress; "Truths from Sojourner Truth"; From the "New York Tribune": Sojourner Truth at Work [letter to editor]
• Mary Prince (ca. 1788-after 1833) / Excerpt from "The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave" (1831)
• Nancy Prince (1799-after 1856) / From "A Narrative of the Life and Travels of Mrs. Nancy Prince" (1850)
• Maria W. Stewart (ca. 1803-1879) / "An Address Delivered at the African Masonic Hall" (1833)
• Sarah Mapps Douglas (Zillah) (1806-1882) / "A Mother's Love" (1832)
• Harriet Jacobs (1813-1897) / "The Loophole of Retreat" from "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl" (1861)
• Elizabeth Keckley (1818-1907) / "The Secret History of Mrs. Lincoln's Wardrobe in New York," from "Behind the Scenes, or, Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the White House" (1868)
• Eliza Potter (1820-after 1861) / "New Orleans," from "A Hairdresser's Experience in High Life" (1859)
• Harriet Wilson (1825-1900) / Selections from "Our Nig" (1859): Preface; Chapter I: Mag Smith, My Mother; Chapter XII: The Winding Up of the Matter
• Hannah Crafts/Bond (1826-after 1859) / Selections from "The Bondwoman's Narrative" (ca. 1858): Chapter 1: In Childhood; Chapter 13: A Turn of the Wheel
• Sarah Parker Redmond (1826-1894) / "The Negroes in the United States of America" (1862)
• Louisa Picquet (ca. 1829-1896) / "The Family Sold at Auction—Louisa Bought by a 'New Orleans Gentleman,' and What Came of It," from "The Octoroon" (1861)

Fugitives and Emigrants: Moving West and North:
• Mrs. John Little / "Mrs. John Little," from "The Refugee: Narratives of Fugitive Slaves in Canada" (1856)
• Mary Ann Shadd Cary (1823-1893) / Selections from "A Plea for Emigration, or, Notes of Canada West" (1852): Settlements,--Dawn,--Elgin,--Institution,--Fugitive Home Political Rights—Election Law—Oath—Currency
• Jennie Carter (Semper Fidelis) (ca. 1830-1881) / "Letter from Nevada County: Mud Hill, September 2, 1868"; "Letter from Nevada County: Mud Hill, September 12, 1868"
• Abby Fisher (ca. 1832-after 1881) / Selections from "What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking, Soups, Pickles, Preserves, Etc." (1881): Preface and Apology; Jumberlie—A Creole Dish; Oyster Gumbo Soup; Tonic Bitters—A Southern Remedy for Invalids; Sweet Cucumber Pickles; Pap for Infant Diet

Northern Women and the Post-War South:
• Charlotte Forten Grimké (1837-1914) / "Life on the Sea Islands" (1864)
• Charlotte Forten Grimké / "Charles Sumner, On Seeing Some Pictures of the Interior of His House" (1874)
• Charlotte Forten Grimké / "The Gathering of the Grand Army" (1890)
• Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin (1842-1924) / "Address to the First National Conference of Colored Women" (1895)
• Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin / "An Open Letter to the Educational League of Georgia" (1889)
• Edmonia Goodelle Highgate (1844-1870) / "A Spring Day Up the James" (1865)
• Edmonia Goodelle Highgate / "Rainy-Day Ink Drops" (1865)
• Edmonia Goodelle Highgate / "Neglected Opportunities" (1866)
• Edmonia Goodelle Highgate / "On Horse Back—Saddle Dash, No. 1" (1866)
• Julia A. J. Foote (1823-1900) / Selections from "A Brand Plucked from the Fire" (1879): Chapter I: Birth and Parentage; Chapter IV: My Teacher Hung for Crime; Chapter XIX: Public Effort—Excommunication; Chapter XXII: A Visit to My Parents—Further Labors
• Jarena Lee (1783-1855) / Selection from "Religious Experience and Journal of Mrs. Jarena Lee, Giving an Account of Her Call to Preach the Gospel" (1849): My Call to Preach the Gospel
• Zilpha Elaw (1790-after 1845) / Selection from "Memoirs of the Life, Religious Experience, Ministerial Travels and Labours of Mrs. Zilpha Elaw, an American Female of Colour" (1846)
• Lucy Delaney (ca. 1830-after 1891) / Selections from "From Darkness Cometh the Light" (1891): Chapter IV; Chapter V
• Ella Sheppard (1851-1914) / "Historical Sketch of the Jubilee Singers" (1911)

Poetry, Drama, and Fiction:
• Sarah Forten Purvis (Magawisca) (1814-1884) / "The Slave Girl's Address to Her Mother" (1831)
• Sarah Forten Purvis (Magawisca) / "The Abuse of Liberty" (1831)
• Sarah Forten Purvis (Magawisca) / "Lines" (1838)
• Ann Plato (ca. 1820-after 1841) / "Education" (1841)
• Ann Plato / "The Natives of America" (1841)
• Julia Collins (d. 1865) / Selections from "The Curse of Caste; or The Slave Bride" (1865): Chapter VI; Chapter VIII: The Flower Fadeth; Chapter X: Richard in New Orleans; Chapter XXVII: Mrs. Butterworth's Revelation; Chapter XXIX: Convalescent
• Frances Ellen Watkins Harper (1825-1911) / "Enlightened Motherhood: An Address Before the Brooklyn Literary Society, November 15, 1892"
• Frances Ellen Watkins Harper / Newfound poems from "Forest Leaves" (ca. 1840): "Haman and Mordechai"; "A Dream"; "The Felon's Dream"
• Frances Ellen Watkins Harper / Later Poems: "Eliza Harris"; "The Slave Auction"; "Lines"; "Bible Defense of Slavery"; "The Drunkard's Child"; "The Revel"; "Ethiopia"; "To Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe"; "The Fugitive's Wife"; "An Appeal to My Countrywomen"
• Pauline Hopkins (1859-1930) / Selections from "Peculiar Sum, or, the Underground Railroad", a Musical Drama in Four Acts (1879): Act III; Act IV
• Pauline Hopkins / "Talma Gordon" (1900)
• Katherine Davis Chapman Tillman (Kate D. Chapman) (1870-after 1922) / "A Question of To-day" (1889)
• Katherine Davis Chapman Tillman / "Lines to Ida B. Wells" (1894)
• Katherine Davis Chapman Tillman / "A Tribute to Negro Regiments" (1898)
• Amelia E. Johnson (ca. 1858-1922) / Selections from "Clarence and Corinne, or God's Way" (1890): Chapter I: Discouraged; Chapter IV: Provided For
• Mary E. Ashe Lee (1850-1932) / "Afmerica" (1885)
• H. Cordelia Ray (1849-1916) / "Lincoln" (1876)
• H. Cordelia Ray / "To My Father" (1893)
• H. Cordelia Ray / "Shakespeare" (1893)
• H. Cordelia Ray / "In Memoriam (Frederick Douglass)" (1897)
• H. Cordelia Ray / "William Lloyd Garrison" (1905)
• Sarah E. Farro (1859-after 1937) / Selection from "True Love: A Story of English Domestic Life" (1891): Chapter I
• Alice Ruth Moore Dunbar-Nelson (1875-1935) / "The Woman" (1895)
• Alice Ruth Moore Dunbar-Nelson / "Amid the Roses" (1895)
• Alice Ruth Moore Dunbar-Nelson / "I Sit and Sew" (1918)
• Alice Ruth Moore Dunbar-Nelson / "Sonnet" (1919)
• Alice Ruth Moore Dunbar-Nelson / "To the Negro Farmers of the United States" (1920)
• Alice Ruth Moore Dunbar-Nelson / "To Madame Curie" (1921)

Women Addressing Women: Addresses and Essays:
• Sarah J. Early (1825-1907) / "The Organized Effort of the Colored Women of the South to Improve Their Condition" (1894)
• Lucy Craft Laney (1854-1933) / "The Burden of the Educated Colored Woman" (1899)
• Fannie Barrier Williams (1855-1944) / "The Intellectual Progress of the Colored Woman of the United States since the Emancipation Proclamation" (1893)
• Virginia W. Broughton (1856-1934) / "Woman's Work" (1894)
• Anna Julia Cooper (1860-1964) / "Womanhood a Vital Element in the Regeneration and Progress of a Race" (1886)
• Anna Julia Cooper / "Paper by Mrs. Anna J. Cooper" (1894)
• Mary Church Terrell (1863-1954) / "The Progress of Colored Women" (1898)
• Mary Church Terrell / "The Convict Lease System and the Chain Gangs" (1907)
• Mary V. Cook (1863-1945) / "Woman's Place in the Work of the Denomination" (1887)

Education and Social Reform:
• Julia Caldwell-Frazier (1863-1929) / "The Decisions of Time" (1889)
• Fanny M. Jackson Coppin (1837-1913) / "Commencement Address" (1876): A Race's Progress
• Fanny M. Jackson Coppin / "Christmas Eve Story" (1880)
• Fanny M. Jackson Coppin / "A Plea for the Mission School" (1891)
• Fanny M. Jackson Coppin / "A Plea for Industrial Opportunity" (1879)
• Victoria Earle Matthews (1861-1907) / "The Value of Race Literature" (1895)
• Gertrude Bustill Mossell (1855-1948) / "Baby Bertha's Temperance Lesson" (1885)
• Gertrude Bustill Mossell / "Will the Negro Share the Glory That Awaits Africa?" (1893)
• Amelia L. Tilghman (1856-1931) / "Dedicated to Her Gracious Majesty, Queen Victoria, of England" (1892)
• Josephine J. Turpin Washington (1861-1949) / "A Great Danger" (1884): Annie Porter Excoriated
• Josephine J. Turpin Washington / "The Province of Poetry" (1889)
• Josephine J. Turpin Washington / "Needs of Our Newspapers: Some Reasons for Their Existence" (1889)
• Josephine J. Turpin Washington / "Anglo-Saxon Supremacy" (1890)
• Ida B. Wells-Barnett (1862-1931) / "Our Women" (1887)
• Ida B. Wells-Barnett / "The Requirements of Southern Journalism" (1893)
• Ida B. Wells-Barnett / "Lynch Law and the Color Line" (1893)
• Ida B. Wells-Barnett / "Our Country's Lynching Record" (1913)
• Ida B. Wells-Barnett / "The Ordeal of the 'Solitary': Mrs. Barnett Protests Against It" (1915)

Women Memorializing Women:
• S. Elizabeth Frazier (1864-1924) / "Some Afro-American Women of Mark" (1892)
• Lucy Wilmot Smith (1861-1890) / "Women as Journalists: Portraits and Sketches of a Few of the Women Journalists of the Race" (1889)

About the anthology

• Includes 100+ items from 52 African American women writers. There is a headnote for each author and a note on the source for each selection.
• Cody Ernst, then an MFA student at Johns Hopkins (where Robbins teaches), worked as an editorial assistant on the volume.

Reviews and notices of anthology

• Valentine, Genevieve. "A 'Portable' Overview of a Complex, Compelling History." "NPR.org" 30 July 2017.
""The Portable Nineteenth-Century African American Women Writers" isn't an easy read. It is, however, a rewarding history, and a reminder that the past is never a single narrative. It's a conversation with itself and with the present, well worth having."
• Williams, John. "Going After Big Prey." "New York Times Book Review" 23 July 2017: 6. (Online 19 July 2017.)
"[This anthology] features the work of 52 writers from before, during and after the Civil War. It includes poetry, fiction and memoir; essays about life under slavery and life after slavery; explicitly political pieces addressing emancipation, education and other urgent issues.
"In the introduction, the book's editors, Hollis Robbins and Henry Louis Gates Jr., write: 'These texts speak to the fact that feminism and women's rights were far more institutionally ingrained throughout American--and African-American--life in the 19th century than was typically recorded.' Or as Sarah Early wrote in 1894: 'Hark! I hear the tramp of a million feet, and the sound of a million voices answer.'"
• Stanley, Tarshia L. "What Makes an African-American Novel a Classic?" "Diverse Issues in Higher Education" 13 Dec. 2017.
Stanley remarks on the excerpt in this anthology from Sarah E. Farro's "True Love": "Written in 1891, this Dickensian novel is unusual in that an African-American writer imagines White characters' lives but does not engage race." The inclusion of this work serves to broaden our sense of the range of 19th-century African-American women's writings, to include "work other than social protest."

Commentary on anthology

• Cowen, Tyler. "What I've Been Reading." "Marginal Revolution" 21 July 2017.
Cowen says about the works collected in this anthology, "Plenty of libertarian thought in here, and many historical tidbits of interest, for instance [the discussion of the telegraph and the telephone in] Julia Caldwell-Frazier, 'The Decisions of Time' (1889)."

See also

• Shirley Wilson Logan, ed. "With Pen and Voice: A Critical Anthology of Nineteenth-Century African-American Women" (1995)

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