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The Work Of The Afro-american Woman
by Mrs. N. F. Mossell
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"These essays offer a wide-ranging intellectual history of the 'budding womanhood of the race.'"--The Village Voice
"Though she celebrates the achievement of black women more than she protests the injustices against them, her book of essays is nontheless feminist in its viewpoint....Mossell consistently stresses race-consciousness as she promotes the cause of black women. Readers will appreciate her documentation of black intellectual and professional achievement and her black literary history (perhaps one of the first such attempts at a survey)..."--The Women's Review of Books
"The Work of the Afro-American Woman recorded the black woman's moral, material, intellectual, and artistic progress within the dominant culture of Victorian America. It held exemplary models of black womanhood before the public view, argued for an end to caste and color discrimination, and challenged the so-called 'cult of true womanhood' with race-centered analysis. For the contemporary reader, The Work represents a historical connection with the black foremothers who defended their names and images and documented their literary and cultural traditions at the turn of the century. In this work lie the wellsprings of black feminist literary expression and the same impulses to document, to share, to inspire and instruct that inform the writings of today's black women."--Joanne Braxton, in her Introduction
Part intellectual history, part advice book, and part polemic, this collection of original essays and poetry presents a defense and celebration of the achievements--moral, material, intellectual, and artistic--of black women in Victorian America. Writing as a Christian, a mother, and a wife, Mrs. Mossell held exemplary models of black womanhood before the public eye, called for the end to caste and color discrimination, and challenged the so-called "cult of true womanhood." A source of instruction and inspiration in its own time, The Work of the Afro-American Woman today remains a valuable document of black American cultural and intellectual history and forges a powerful link between past and present.
About the Author
Joanne Braxton is at College of William and Mary.
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