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Considered one of the original texts foretelling the black feminist movement, this collection of essays, first published in 1892, offers an unparalleled view into the thought of black women writers in nineteenth-century America. A leading black spokeswoman of her time, Anna Julia Cooper came of age during a conservative wave in the black community, a time when men completely dominated African-American intellectual and political ideas. In these essays, Cooper criticizes black men for securing higher education for themselves through the ministry, while erecting roadblocks to deny women access to those same opportunities, and denounces the elitism and provinciality of the white women's movement. Passionately committed to women's independence, Cooper espoused higher education as the essential key to ending women's physical, emotional, and economic dependence on men.

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