Beloved Sisters and Loving Friends: Civil War Letters from Rebecca Primus of Royal Oak, Maryland, and Addie Brown of Hartford, Connecticut, 1854-1868, Historical African-American Memoirs is rare glimpse into the lives of African-American women in New York, New England and the south during the Civil War era.
Rebecca Primus, the daughter of a prominent black Hartford family, traveled south after the Civil War to teach the newly freed men and women. Addie Brown--a bright, spirited, intelligent woman--was a domestic servant who worked in various households in Connecticut and New York. Over one-hundred-thirty years later these civil war letters were discovered, offering invaluable first-hand accounts of the female black experience in the American north and south during its Reconstruction. Edited and with an introduction, notes and commentary by one of the foremost African-American authors and scholars of our time, Farah Jasmine Griffin, Beloved Sisters and Loving Friends brings to light many new details that have been missing in American historical biographies.
The letters Rebecca Primus wrote to her family reveal her confrontations with southern prejudice, her struggles to educate the freedmen, the practical effects of the politics of Reconstruction, and every-day events of life in Royal Oak, Maryland. The letters Addie Brown wrote to Rebecca from the north chronicle her struggles to make a living, her self-education, her growing political consciousness and, always, her enduring love for Rebecca, a love complicated by the courtship of men whom she feels compelled to consider for reasons of economic security.
"This collection of the personal correspondence of two young African American women during one of the most pivotal periods in U.S. history," wrote Booklist, "provides not only a candid look at their relationship with each other, but also a new perspective for understanding the complexity of the social, political, economic, and cultural climate of the period."
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About the Author
Farah Jasmine Griffin is a professor of English and comparative literature and African-American Studies at Columbia University. She received her B.A. degree from Harvard and Ph.D. from Yale. Farah's major fields of interest are American and African-American literature, music, history and politics. You can learn more about her books, articles, theatrical work and media appearances at FarahJasmineGriffin.com.