Nineteenth-century Black women's intellectual history has centered primarily on well- known women whose writing and community activism allow scholars to understand more about the lives and contributions of free Black women in the pre–Civil War period. Yet the discussion about such forerunning women as Maria W. Stewart, Jarena Lee, Sojourner Truth, Sarah Mapps Douglass, and others isolates them from the wider communities of African American women in which they existed. This study explores the intersections between elite and working-class Black women in antebellum Philadelphia. Viewed within the context of the poor and working-c lass demographics whose numbers superseded the Black well-t o-do, the efforts of African American women intellectuals and activists take on a more complex meaning. Primarily, the connection of Black socioeconomic class groups in the city offers a unique perspective on the conditions and ideas that informed the intellectual and activist traditions of Black women throughout the nineteenth century.


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pp. 321-348
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