The Work of the Afro-American Woman

The Work of the Afro-American Woman

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The Work of the Afro-American Woman

The Work of the Afro-American Woman

Read FREE!

Synopsis

Part intellectual history, part advice book, and part polemic, this collection of original essays and poetry is a defence 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 Mosell held exemplary models of black womanhood before the public eye. A source of instruction and inspiration in its own time, it remains today a valuable document of black American cultural and intellectual history.

Excerpt

In the introduction to her When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America (1984), cultural historian Paula Giddings posits:

In the racial struggle--in slavery and freedom--they fought every way that men did. In the feminist battle they demanded the same protection and properties that the "best" White women enjoyed, but at the same time redefined the meaning of what was called "true womanhood." For the Black woman argued that her experience under slavery, her participation in the work force, and her sense of independence made her more of a woman, not less of one. (p. 7)

Mrs. N. F. Mossell The Work of the Afro-American Woman (1894) represents an early attempt to articulate this black and feminist viewpoint, which takes race, not sex, as its point of departure. The Work presented black women and their accomplishments to a wider sphere of humanity and redefined "true womanhood" by challenging its "cardinal tenets" with race-centered analysis. In addition to "defending the name" of the black woman against her detractors, The Work offered her a source of instruction and inspiration. Today, The Work remains a valuable document of black American cultural and intellectual history, as well as a link between the past and the present. It was, for the black woman of the 1890s, the equivalent of Giddings' work of the 1980s--in sum, a powerful and progressive statement.

The author, Mrs. Gertrude E. H. Bustill Mossell (1855- 1948), wrote under the initials of her husband, Dr. Nathan Francis Mossell . . .

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