Born shortly before the Civil War, activist and reformer Fannie Barrier Williams (1855-1944) became one of the most prominent educated African American women of her generation. Hendricks shows how Williams became "raced" for the first time in early adulthood, when she became a teacher in Missouri and Washington, D.C., and faced the injustices of racism and the stark contrast between the lives of freed slaves and her own privileged upbringing in a western New York village.
She carried this new awareness to Chicago, where she joined forces with black and predominantly white women's clubs, the Unitarian church, and various other interracial social justice organizations to become a prominent spokesperson for Progressive economic, racial, and gender reforms during the transformative period of industrialization. By highlighting how Williams experienced a set of freedoms in the North that were not imaginable in the South, this clearly-written, widely accessible biography expands how we understand intellectual possibilities, economic success, and social mobility in post-Reconstruction America.
About the Author
Wanda A. Hendricks is a professor of history at the University of South Carolina and the author of Gender, Race, and Politics in the Midwest: Black Club Women in Illinois.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations vii
1 North of Slavery: Brockport 9
2 "Completely Surrounded by Screens": A Raced Identity 28
3 Creating Community in the Midwest: Chicago 50
4 Crossing the Border of Race: The Unitarians, the World's Fair, and the Chicago Woman's Club 69
5 A Distinctive Generation: "The Colored Woman's Era" 93
6 The New Century: North and South Meet 119
7 A New Era: Duty, Responsibility, and Tension 150