The women’s suffrage movement in the United States led to the establishment of the legal right for women to vote nationally in 1920. Yet as women’s suffrage gained momentum in the nineteenth century, African-American women often were marginalized. Here we present twelve African-American suffragists whose contributions shouldn’t be overlooked, a mere fraction of those who should be acknowledged and honored.
Despite the odds, Black suffragists made important strides in the fight for voting rights. African-American women suffragists dealt with the political concerns of white suffragists who were aware that they needed the support of Southern legislators both on the state and federal levels.
In 1890, the National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association merged to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). NAWSA’s members excluded African-American women, believed that would gain them greater support. The view of women’s suffrage was thus narrowed, focusing primarily on white women. Read More→
If you or someone you love is both an Emily Dickinson aficionado and an avid gardener, Emily Dickinson’s Gardening Life by Marta McDowell is a book to treasure. This 2019 publication (Timber Press, Portland, OR) is a full color, lushly illustrated homage to an enigmatic woman who was not only a brilliant poet, but a keen observer of the natural world around her.
Organized by season, this gorgeous book is revised from an edition first published in 2004, by an author whose expertise in gardens dovetails with an avid interest in classic women authors who cultivated them. From the publisher: Read More→
Louisa May Alcott (1832 – 1888) may be best known as the author of Little Women and its sequels, but there was more to her than these genteel (yet gently subversive) domestic tales. She was a complex woman whose views were reflected in her literary output. The following fascinating facts about Louisa May Alcott might surprise those who don’t know a lot about the woman behind Little Women.
From her teen years on, Louisa was determined to make a living as a writer. She became the Alcott family’s primary breadwinner at a young age, mostly by writing and selling anonymous thrillers, or what she called “blood and thunder” tales. And from there herwriting life unfolded, often in unexpected ways. Read More→
Hilda Doolittle (1886 – 1961), known by her nom de plume H.D., was an American-born poet, novelist, translator, and essayist. Modernism, psychoanalysis, and feminism were all influences on her work, as were the effects of World Wars I and II. Following is a selection of poems by H.D. that speak to her experimental and innovative approach to the craft.
H.D has earned her place among iconic modernist writers including T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, and William Carlos Williams.Read More→
Anne Spencer, born Annie Bethel Bannister (February 6, 1882 – July 27, 1975), was an African-American poet, teacher, librarian, gardener, and civil rights activist. She’s best remembered as a prominent figure in the Harlem Renaissance. In this sampling of poems by Anne Spencer, we experience her affinity for nature, love, and life itself.
Spencer’s literary career began as she was a student in Virginia Seminary with her first poem, “The Skeptic.” After creating this poem, she continued to write on any surface she could find to record her thoughts, including the walls of her home and random scraps of paper. She was an outspoken advocate for women’s rights, civil rights, and granting the right of respect to everyone.
For the book-lover in your life, here are a half dozen literary gift books — all related, directly or fancifully — to a few of the beloved literary ladies on this site. These 2019 publications (with the exception of the Brontë collection boxed set, late 2018), offer some fresh takes in homage to (or by) some of our favorite authors.
Here you’ll find a beautiful, full-color book on Emily Dickinson’s affinity for gardens and botany; a new collection of words of wisdom from Toni Morrison; quotes from Agatha Christie’s amateur sleuth Miss Marple; a retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice from the standpoint of Charlotte Lucas; a fun compilation of Austen-inspired cocktails; and a beautiful boxed set of the Brontë sisters most iconic novels.
Hilda Doolittle (September 10, 1886 – September 27, 1961) was an American-born poet, novelist, translator, and essayist who wrote under the pen name H.D. She was heavily influenced by the effects of World War I, and the subsequent trends of modernism, psychoanalysis, and feminism.
Her work is often framed within the context of other important modernist writers such as T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, and William Carlos Williams. Today, she’s best remembered for her innovation and experimental approach in poetry. Read More→
Anne Spencer (born Annie Bethel Bannister; February 6, 1882 – July 27, 1975) was an American poet, teacher, librarian, gardener, and civil rights activist. She’s best remembered as an important figure of the Harlem Renaissance and as the second African-American poet to be included in the Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry.
Anne was born in Henry County, Virginia, to Joel Cephus Bannister and Sarah Louise Scales. Both parents were part of the first generation of African Americans born into bondage whose childhood followed the end of slavery. As an only child, she was the center of her parent’s lives and they were determined to make a better life for her.