The Hart Sisters: Early African Caribbean Writers, Evangelicals, and Radicals


"The Hart Sisters will be of great importance for social and cultural historians, literary and cultural critics working in Afro-Caribbean, African-American, and Afro-British studies, as well as those scholars working across national and disciplinary boundaries to construct the interwoven narratives of the African diaspora, antislavery movements, and the history of colonialism."-Cora Kaplan, author of Sea Changes: Culture and FeminismDaughter of a black slaveholder father, Anne Hart Gilbert and Elizabeth Hart Thwaites were among the first educators of slaves and free African Caribbeans in late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century Antigua. These members of the "free colored" community who married white men and played an active role as educators, antislavery activists, and Methodist evangelicals were also among the first African Caribbean female writers. This exceptional volume offers for the first time a collection of their writings.Because the records of the Hart sisters are rare and original testimony from black women of the time, they will be of great interest to the modern scholar. Autobiographical and biographical narrative, along with antislavery tracts, hymns, devotional poetry, and religious documents vividly reveal the lives of these courageous women. Their writings illuminate the complex of racial, spiritual, and class- and gender-based divisions, as well as attitudes, of Anglophone Caribbean society. Moira Ferguson's introduction situates the Hart sisters in historical context and explains how their writings helped establish a specific black Antiguan cultural identity.Moira Ferguson is a professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the author of Subject to Others: British Women Writers and Colonial Slavery and East Caribbean: Gender and Colonial Relations from Mary Wollstonecraft to Jamaica Kincaid.