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All Bound Up Together

The Woman Question in African American Public Culture, 1830-1900

Martha S. Jones

Publication Year: 2007

The place of women's rights in African American public culture has been an enduring question, one that has long engaged activists, commentators, and scholars. ###All Bound Up Together# explores the roles black women played in their communities' social movements and the consequences of elevating women into positions of visibility and leadership. Martha Jones reveals how, through the nineteenth century, the "woman question" was at the core of movements against slavery and for civil rights. Unlike white women activists, who often created their own institutions separate from men, black women, Jones explains, often organized within already existing institutions--churches, political organizations, mutual aid societies, and schools. Covering three generations of black women activists, Jones demonstrates that their approach was not unanimous or monolithic but changed over time and took a variety of forms, from a woman's right to control her body to her right to vote. Through a far-ranging look at politics, church, and social life, Jones demonstrates how women have helped shape the course of black public culture. Jones examines the activism of African American women in the nineteenth century who staked out space in the public sphere. Unlike white women activists, who often created their own institutions separate from men in order to establish their public presence, black women, Jones explains, began to organize within mixed-gender institutions that already existed--churches, political organizations, mutual aid societies, and schools. Covering three generations of black women activists, Jones demonstrates that their approach was not unanimous or monolithic but changed over time and took a variety of forms, from a woman’s right to control her body to her right to vote. Jones focuses her attention on one crucial part of that: the extent to which African American women should exercise autonomy and authority within their community’s public culture. This volume explores the roles black women played in their communities' social movements and the consequences of elevating women into positions of visibility and leadership. Martha Jones reveals how, throughout the 19th century, the "woman question" was at the core of movements against slavery and for civil rights. The place of women's rights in African American public culture has been an enduring question, one that has long engaged activists, commentators, and scholars. ###All Bound Up Together# explores the roles black women played in their communities' social movements and the consequences of elevating women into positions of visibility and leadership. Martha Jones reveals how, through the nineteenth century, the "woman question" was at the core of movements against slavery and for civil rights. Unlike white women activists, who often created their own institutions separate from men, black women, Jones explains, often organized within already existing institutions--churches, political organizations, mutual aid societies, and schools. Covering three generations of black women activists, Jones demonstrates that their approach was not unanimous or monolithic but changed over time and took a variety of forms, from a woman's right to control her body to her right to vote. Through a far-ranging look at politics, church, and social life, Jones demonstrates how women have helped shape the course of black public culture.

Published by: The University of North Carolina Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-7

Contents

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pp. vii-x

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Introduction

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pp. 1-22

When African American poet and essayist Frances E. W. Harper took the podium during the inaugural meeting of the American Equal Rights Association, she spoke with both trepidation and conviction. Aiming to set forth a creed that might guide the fledgling women’s rights organization, Harper declared: ...

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Chapter One: Female Influence Is Powerful: Respectability, Responsibility, and Setting the Terms of the Woman Question Debate

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pp. 23-58

Maria Stewart need not have posed the woman question; she was its embodiment. In September 1832, Stewart spoke at Boston’s Franklin Hall on the prejudice to which African Americans were subjected. She shattered long-standing proscriptions against women speaking on politics. ...

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Chapter Two: Right Is of No Sex: Reframing the Debate through the Rights of Women

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pp. 59-86

Of the many resolutions adopted during the September 1848 National Convention of Colored Freedmen, none was more novel than that which called for women’s "equal" participation in the proceedings.1 During three days of deliberations in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates considered a dizzying array of issues, including the upcoming presidential election, ...

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Chapter Three: Not a Woman’s Rights Convention: Remaking Public Culture in the Era of Dred Scott v. Sanford

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pp. 87-118

Mary Ann Shadd could not escape the woman question. During the winter of 1855–56, Mary Ann Shadd toured the United States promoting the emigration of African Americans to Canada. Her subject matter was provocative, yet Shadd found herself ridiculed for her womanhood as much as for her political point of view. ...

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Chapter Four: Something Very Novel and Strange: Civil War, Emancipation, and the Remaking of African American Public Culture

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pp. 119-150

On St. Helena Island, Charlotte Forten’s sense of duty was forever transformed. Forten was among the first African American teachers to venture South and work with black refugees behind Union army lines. When she arrived at St. Helena Island, South Carolina, in 1862, she was twenty-five years old. ...

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Chapter Five: Make Us a Power: Churchwomen’s Politics and the Campaign for Women’s Rights

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pp. 151-172

In 1876, African American women won the right to vote. Through a broad campaign that began before the Civil War, black women secured the right to choose leaders, serve as representatives, and decide on legislation. Their campaign was waged by a multigenerational cadre of women; some gained their political acumen in the antebellum abolitionist movement, ...

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Chapter Six: Too Much Useless Male Timber: The Nadir, the Woman’s Era, and the Question of Women’s Ordination

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pp. 173-204

Heads bowed for the opening benediction at the First National Conference of the Colored Women of America. The voice of Eliza Ann Gardner, the meeting’s chaplain, filled the hall. Seventy-three delegates from African American women’s clubs in twenty-five states and the District of Columbia had come to Boston in 1895. ...

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Conclusion

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pp. 205-208

In the summer of 1907, the Reverend J. W. Brown presided over the dedication of the newly constructed Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in Rochester, New York.1 Even prior to the opening ceremonies, Memorial Church was touted as black Rochester’s grandest edifice. ...

Notes

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pp. 209-270

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 271-300

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 301-304

The research and writing of All Bound Up Together was made possible by generous financial support from the Charles H. Revson Foundation through the Revson Fellows Program; the Columbia University History Department through a Richard Hofstadter fellowship; the Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences ...

Index

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pp. 305-317


E-ISBN-13: 9781469605012
E-ISBN-10: 1469605015
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807831526
Print-ISBN-10: 0807831522

Page Count: 328
Illustrations: 12 illus.
Publication Year: 2007

Series Title: The John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Culture