Edited by Hollis Robbins and Henry Louis Gates, Jr; this collection comprises work from forty-nine writers arranged into sections of memoir, poetry and essays on feminism, education and the legacy of black women writers. Many of these pieces engage with social movements like abolition, women's suffrage, temperance and civil rights, but the thematic centre is black women's intellect and personal ambition. The diverse selection includes well-known writers like Sojourner Truth, Hannah Crafts and Harriet Jacobs, as well as lesser-known writers like Ella Sheppard, who offers a firsthand account of life in a world-famous singing group. Taken together, these incredible works insist that the writing of black women writers be read, remembered and addressed.
Hollis Robbins is Director of the Center for Africana Studies at Johns Hopkins University and Chair of the Humanities Department at the Peabody Institute, where she has taught since 2006 Henry Louis Gates, Jr., is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and founding director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. He is editor in chief of the Oxford African American Studies Center and TheRoot.com, and creator of the highly praised PBS documentary The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross. He is general editor for a Penguin Classics series of African American works