Long portrayed as a masculine endeavor, the African American struggle for progress often found expression through an unlikely literary figure: the black girl. Nazera Sadiq Wright uses heavy archival research on a wide range of texts about African American girls to explore this understudied phenomenon. As Wright shows, the figure of the black girl in African American literature provided a powerful avenue for exploring issues like domesticity, femininity, and proper conduct. The characters' actions, however fictional, became a rubric for African American citizenship and racial progress. At the same time, their seeming dependence and insignificance allegorized the unjust treatment of African Americans. Wright reveals fascinating girls who, possessed of a premature knowing and wisdom beyond their years, projected a courage and resiliency that made them exemplary representations of the project of racial advance and citizenship.
|Publisher:||University of Illinois Press|
|Edition description:||New Edition|
|Product dimensions:||6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
Nazera Sadiq Wright is an assistant professor of English at the University of Kentucky.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Toward a Genealogy of Black Girlhood 1
1 Black Girlhood in the Early Black Press 23
2 Youthful Girls and Prematurely Knowing Girls: Antebellum Black Girlhood 60
3 "Teach Your Daughters": Black Girlhood and Mrs. N. P. Mossell's Advice Column in the New York Freeman 93
4 Moving the Boundaries: Black Girlhood and Public Careers in Frances E. W. Harper's Trial and Triumph 118
5 Black Girlhood in Early-Twentieth-Century Black Conduct Books 146
Epilogue: The Changing Same? Next-Generation Black Girlhood 179