Document Type

Occasional Paper

Publication Date



The most prominent images of Black women in antebellum America depicted in classes across the United States are of passive victims as opposed to active agents of change. The names and deeds of Black women like Frances E. W. Harper, Maria Stewart, Sarah Mapps Douglass, and Sarah Jane Giddings are not an integral part of American education. Further, most history books overlook Black women's roles in antebellum America — oversights which can be considered suppression through historical omission. In order to reflect a more accurate picture of American history, public and private school curriculums need to include texts by and about Black women (slave, free-born, and former slaves) who were active agents in shaping their own lives as well as altering the course of history. This paper explores some of the ways in which Black women were active agents in the fight for freedom during the slave era.


Occasional Paper #35


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