Afro-American Women Writers, 1746-1933: An Anthology and Critical Guide



Afro-American Women Writers, 1746-1933: An Anthology and Critical Guide

This edition

"Afro-American Women Writers, 1746-1933: An Anthology and Critical Guide." Ed. Ann Allen Shockley. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1988. xxviii+465 pp.

Other editions, reprints, and translations

• Repr. New York: New American Library, 1989. xxvi+465 pp.

Online access

• New American Library (1989) edition

Table of contents

• Ann Allen Shockley / Introduction

Part 1: Colonial Period to the Civil War, 1746-1862:
• Introduction
• Chronology of Writings
• Lucy Terry Prince / Bars Fight
• Phillis Wheatley / On Being Brought from Africa to America
• Phillis Wheatley / To S.M., a Young African Painter, on Seeing his Works
• Phillis Wheatley / On Imagination
• Phillis Wheatley / A Funeral Poem on the Death of C.E., an Infant of Twelve Months
• Ann Plato / To the First of August
• Ann Plato / Advice to Young Ladies
• Ann Plato / Forget Me Not
• Ann Plato / Education
• Zilpha Elaw / Mrs. Elaw
• Jarena Lee / My Call to Preach the Gospel
• Nancy Gardener Prince / Her Return Back to Jamaica, and the State of Things at That Time
• Frances Ellen Watkins Harper / The Slave Mother
• Frances Ellen Watkins Harper / The Two Offers
• Charlotte L. Forten (Grimké) / Emancipation Day on St. Helena Island
• Charlotte L. Forten (Grimké) / A Parting Hymn
• Charlotte L. Forten (Grimké) / The Angel's Visit /
• Harriet E. Adams Wilson / A New Home for Me
• Harriet Ann Jacobs [Linda Brent, pseud.] / The Jealous Mistress

Part 2: Reconstruction to the End of the Century, 1868-1899.
• Introduction
• Chronology of Writings
• Frances Anne Rollin Whipper [Frank A. Rollin, pseud.] / The Council-Chamber—President Lincoln
• Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley / The Secret History of Mrs. Lincoln's Wardrobe in New York
• Clarissa Minnie Thompson / De Verne or Herbert—Which?
• Miss Garrison / Churches and Religion
• Amelia Etta Hall Johnson / The Reunion
• Josephine Delphine Henderson Heard / To Whittier
• Josephine Delphine Henderson Heard / The Black Sampson
• Emma Dunham Kelley Hawkins [Forget-me-not, pseud.] / Joy and Sorrow
• Victoria Earle Matthews / Aunt Lindy : A Story Founded on Real Life
• Frances Ellen Watkins Harper / School-Girl Notions
• Frances Ellen Watkins Harper / A Double Standard
• Anna Julia Haywood Cooper / The Higher Education of Women
• Amanda Berry Smith / The General Conference at Nashville
• Eloise Bibb Thompson / Gerarda
• Eloise Bibb Thompson / Tribute
• Marie Louise Burgess / Marguerite Earle
• Ida Bell Wells-Barnett [Iola, pseud.] / The Case Stated
• Alice Ruth Moore Dunbar-Nelson / Tony's Wife
• Alice Ruth Moore Dunbar-Nelson / I Sit and Sew

Part 3: Pre-World War I to the New Negro Movement, 1900-1923:
• Introduction
• Chronology of Writings.
• Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins / The Sewing-Circle
• Priscilla Jane Thompson / The Muse's Favor
• Priscilla Jane Thompson / Knight of My Maiden Love
• Susie Baker King Taylor / On Morris and Other Islands
• Susie Baker King Taylor / Thoughts on Present Conditions
• Clara Ann Thompson / Uncle Rube on the Race Problem
• Henrietta Cordelia Ray / Verses to My Heart's-Sister
• Henrietta Cordelia Ray / The Enchanted Shell
• Maud Cuney Hare / Home Life
• Olivia Ward Bush Banks / Voices
• Olivia Ward Bush Banks / Fancies
• Georgia Blanche Douglas Camp Johnson / The Heart of a Woman
• Georgia Blanche Douglas Camp Johnson / I Want to Die While You Love Me
• Georgia Blanche Douglas Camp Johnson / Old Love Letters
• Georgia Blanche Douglas Camp Johnson / Cosmopolite
• Sarah Lee Levy Lindo McDowell Brown Fleming / John Vance
• Charlotte Hawkins Brown / "Mammy"
• Angelina Weld Grimké / Grass Fingers
• Angelina Weld Grimké / A Mona Lisa
• Angelina Weld Grimké / At April
• Zara Wright / The Little Orphan
• Mary Etta Spencer / Little Silas
• Lillian E. Wood / The Cloud with a Silver Lining

Part 4: The New Negro Movement, 1924-1933:
• Introduction
• Chronology of Writings
• Jessie Redmon Fauset Harris / Rejection
• Nella Marian Larsen Imes / The Abyss

• Appendix A: Biographical Sketches of Notable Afro-American Women Writers of the New Negro Movement Who Did Not Publish Books or Publish Them Prior to 1933
• Appendix B: Additional Selected Sources to Afro-American Women Writers, 1900-1933, and Notable Afro-American Women Writers of the New Negro Movement
• Source Notes

About the anthology

• Includes 63 selections from 41 authors
• As the subtitle of this volume indicates ("An Anthology and Critical Guide"), Shockley presents not just a collection of primary works but also extensive secondary scholarship around these materials. In effect, like a few other important anthologies of African American literature, the volume presents literary historical research and analysis in hybridized form with an anthology of primary texts.

• Shockley provides a general introduction to the volume, as well as introductory essays to each of the four periods covered by the volume (1746-1862, 1868-1899, 1900-1923, and 1924-1933). There is also a chronology of the writings published by the authors included in the anthology (broken up into four parts, appearing at the start of each section). The selections from each author are preceded by an extended headnote (2.5 to 5 pages) and list of primary and secondary sources for the author. The works themselves are not annotated, however.

• There is no textual note indicating how the reproduction of texts has been handled. Shockely provides "source notes," however, to allow one to identify the copy text used.

• Shockley began the project in 1978 and it took a decade to complete, working "during weekends, holidays, vacations, and summer months," without any grant support to allow travel to archives and repositories. Shockley remarks, "I shared a personal empathy with many of those women whose problems mirrored my own and those of women writers throughout the centuries: the absence of what Virginia Woolf called 'a room of one's own' and the money to support it" (xv).

• The bibliography in Appendix B of this anthology cites 15 earlier anthologies of African American literature, as enumerated below:

• Adoff, Arnold, ed. "The Poetry of Black America: Anthology of the 20th Century." New York: Harper & Row, 1973.
• Cromwell, Otelia, Lorenzo Dow Turner, and Eva B. Dykes, ed. "Readings from Negro Authors for Schools and Colleges, with a Bibliography of Negro Literature." New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1931.
• Cullen, Countee, ed. "Caroling Dusk: An Anthology of Verse by Negro Poets." New York: Harper, 1927.
• Davis, Arthur P., and Saunders Redding, ed. "Cavalcade: Negro American Writing from 1760 to the Present." Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1971.
• Hatch, James V., ed. "Black Theater, U.S.A.: Forty-Five Plays by Black Americans, 1847-1974." New York: Free Press, 1974.
• Huggins, Nathan Irvin, ed. "Voices from the Harlem Renaissance." New York: Oxford UP, 1976.
• Hughes, Langston, and Arna Bontemps, ed. "The Poetry of the Negro, 1746-1970." Rev. ed. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1970.
• Johnson, Charles Spurgeon, ed. "Ebony and Topaz: A Collectanea." New York: Opportunity / National Urban League, 1927.
• Johnson, James Weldon, ed. "The Book of American Negro Poetry." New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1931.
• Kerlin, Robert T., ed. "Negro Poets and Their Poems." Washington, DC: Associated Publishers, 1923.
• Murphy, Beatrice, ed. "An Anthology of Contemporary Verse: Negro Voices." New York: Henry Harrison, 1928.
• Murphy, Beatrice, ed. "Ebony Rhythm: An Anthology of Contemporary Negro Verse." New York: Exposition Press, 1948.
• Richardson, Willis, and May Miller, ed. "Negro History in Thirteen Plays." Washington, DC: Associated Publishers, 1933.
• Stetson, Erlene, ed. "Black Sister: Poetry by Black American Women, 1746-1980." Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1981.
• Washington, Mary Helen, ed. "Invented Lives: Narratives of Black Women, 1860-1960." Garden City, NY: Anchor/Doubleday, 1987.

Reviews and notices of anthology

• Davies, Carole Boyce. “Righting Afro-American Women’s Literary History.” [review essay] "NWSA Journal" 1.2 (1988-89): 284-89. JSTOR.

• Searing, Susan E. "RQ" [formerly "Reference & User Services Quarterly"] 28.2 (1988): 262. JSTOR.
Shockley (“herself a librarian and fiction writer”) “spotlights ‘lost’ authors and the unbroken tradition of black women’s writing in the United States” by presenting 40 authors of poetry, fiction, essays, and autobiography in this collection: “The selections range from formal classical verse, to didactic Sunday school tales, to moving first-person accounts.” “Only eleven of [the 40 authors] are treated in the standard four-volume reference guide American Women Writers, edited by Lina Mainiero (Ungar, 1979) [e.g. Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Alice Dunbar-Nelson]”; “Shockley brings to light such little-known writers as Zilpha Elaw, M. L. Burgess, and Mary Etta Spencer. With a single exception, all the authors published at least one book-length work.” The volume is divided into four periods: the Colonial Era to the Civil War (1746-1862); Reconstruction to the end of the century (1868-1899); pre-World War I to the New Negro Movement (1900-1923); and the New Negro Movement (1924-1933). “Each period is introduced with a chronology of writings and a critical overview. These are followed by two- to six-page biographies, brief lists of primary and secondary sources, and one or more selected writings by each author.” Shockley’s critical introductions “address elements of plot, characterization, and theme; they chart critical reception by both contemporaneous reviewers and present-day literary historians, with whom she sometimes disagrees. Appendix A adds capsule biographies for a dozen more women writers of the New Negro Movement. Appendix B is a short bibliography of creative works, bibliographies, anthologies, and criticism covering the period from 1900 to 1933.” There is no index.

• Tate, Claudia. [Review of three works, including Shockley's anthology.] "Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature" 9 (Fall 1990): 317-21.

• Foster, Frances Smith. "Black American Literature Forum" 24 (Spring 1990): 151-60.

• Niesen de Abruña, Laura. "Rocky Mountain Review" 43.4 (1989): 258-60.

• Young, Mary. "Explorations in Sights and Sounds" no. 11 (Summer 1991): 52-53.
Shockley's anthology includes African American women writers of all kinds, not just literary writers, but also non-literary writers (authors of religious works, travel journals, diaries). "She even includes writers (Emma Dunham Kelley-Hawkins) who did not use Afro-American characters or themes" (53). The material Shockley is able to present "about individual women writers is limited in scope, but this is to be expected considering the time involved. Shockley has succeeded admirably in bringing together the obscure as well as the better-known Afro-American women writers who wrote and/or published between 1746 and 1933" (53).

• Sanders, Leslie. "The Politics of Representation: Some Recent African-American Literary Criticism" [review of several works, incl. Shockley's anthology] "Canadian Review of American Studies" 21.2 (1990): 247-60.

See also

• Dandridge, Rita B., comp. "Ann Allen Shockley: An Annotated Primary and Secondary Bibliography." New York: Greenwood, 1987. xvi+120 pp.

Cited in

• [not in Kinnamon 1997]

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