Black Women in Nineteenth-Century American Life presents selections from the writings of two dozen representative black women leaders of the past century, with a general introduction relating them to their forebears in colonial times and to their descendants in the twentieth century. Each selection is introduced with a biographical headnote, and the book contains a bibliography of works by or about these women and other black women. The selections are grouped in four parts, emphasizing respectively family relationships, religious activities, political and reformist movements, and education.
The women represented in this book comprise a cross section of historically significant black women in the nineteenth century. Ten were born free, eight were freed before the Civil War, and six were freed by the Emancipation Proclamation; eight were born in the North and sixteen in the South. Their names are Annie Louise Burton, Anna Julia Cooper, Fanny Jackson Coppin, Cornelia, Ellen Craft, Silvia Dubois, Elleanor Eldridge, Elizabeth, Charlotte Forten Grimké, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Elizabeth Keckley, Lucy Craft Laney, Jarena Lee, Louisa Picquet, Ann Plato, Nancy Prince, Sarah Parker Remond, Amanda Berry Smith, Maria Stewart, Susie King Taylor, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Ida Wells-Barnett, and Fannie Barrier Williams.