Ahead Of Her Time

Overview

“[The author] tells this remarkable story with honesty and compassion. Readers will find a wealth of new information not only about Kelley’s outstanding contribution to abolitionism but about the movements to bring about the end of slavery and to advance the cause of women.” —Mari Jo Buhle, Brown University
In the tumultuous years before the Civil War, a young white woman from a Quaker background came to embody commitment to the cause of antislavery and equal rights for black people. Abby Kelley became the ...

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Overview

“[The author] tells this remarkable story with honesty and compassion. Readers will find a wealth of new information not only about Kelley’s outstanding contribution to abolitionism but about the movements to bring about the end of slavery and to advance the cause of women.” —Mari Jo Buhle, Brown University
In the tumultuous years before the Civil War, a young white woman from a Quaker background came to embody commitment to the cause of antislavery and equal rights for black people. Abby Kelley became the abolitionist movement’s chief money-raiser and organizer and its most radial member. She traveled hundreds of miles to awaken the country to the evils of slavery, braving hardship and prejudice as well as opening the way for other women, black and white, to take leadership roles. Now the full story of this principled woman has been told in Dorothy Sterling’s compelling biography.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A little-noticed figure in the early civil rights movement is brought to the forefront by Sterling, whose We Are Your Sisters depicts the experiences of black women in the 19th century. Twenty years before the Civil War, Abby Kelley, a young white Quaker, became a noted Abolitionist. In her travels through the North, she was vilified not only for her stand against slavery but also for protesting the exclusion of women from voting rights. While joining such renowned leaders in both movements as Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Lucy Stone and Lucretia Mott, Kelley remained true to her rural roots and, as wife and mother, loyal to Quaker simplicity. At an 1839 meeting of the American Anti-Slavery Society, she led the fight to substitute the word ``persons'' for men in official records. This useful, detailed and enlightening biography will appeal more to the student of history than to the general reader. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Jan.)
Library Journal
For 19th-century feminists, abolitionism provided a platform as well as a subject, and both of these books explore the symbiosis between the two reform efforts. In her study of the radical abolitionist and early feminist Abby Kelley, Sterling proficiently explicates the political and ideological frac tures in the antislavery community in which she was deeply and contentiously involved. Sterling also skillfully evokes the difficulties Kelley confronted in maintaining a public career in 19th-century America, including conflicts over marriage to the volatile Stephen Foster and her relationship with her daughter Alla. However, this book would have been improved by less detail and more judicious analysis. Venet looks at an array of women activists in the Civil War years. Filling a gap in the literature of both abolitionism and 19th-century feminism, Venet emphasizes particularly the importance of the Women's National Loyal League (WNLL), the organization established by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. She also stresses the roles played by the extraordinary young orator Anna Dickinson and by writers Harriet Beecher Stowe and Fanny Kemble. Venet's theme is the transition for women from moral reform to politics, the purpose for which the WNLL was designed, and she charts with insight the ways in which Stanton and Anthony negotiated a difficult terrain. But Venet's treatment lacks the connections needed to produce a tight, closely argued narrative. Both books will attract a scholarly audience rather than a public one.-- Cynthia Harrison, Federal Judicial Ctr., Washington, D.C.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393311310
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/1/1991
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 484
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Dorothy Sterling is a native New Yorker now living on Cape Cod in Wellfleet. She has made many trips to Nantucket, Block Island, Martha's Vineyard, and Long Island. She is a painstaking and thorough researcher with a long list of natural history, biography, and fiction books to her credit.

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