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Frances E. W. Harper

A Call to Conscience

Utz McKnight



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Polity Press
03 February 2021
Free Black woman, poet, novelist, essayist, speaker, and activist, Frances Watkins Harper was one of the nineteenth century's most important advocates of Abolitionism and female suffrage, and her pioneering work still has profound lessons for us today.

In this new book, Utz McKnight shows how Harper's life and work inspired her contemporaries to imagine a better America. He seeks to recover her importance by examining not only her vision of the possibilities of Emancipation, but also her subsequent role in challenging Jim Crow. He argues that engaging with her ideas and writings is vital in understanding not only our historical inheritance, but also contemporary issues ranging from racial violence to the role of Christianity.

This lucid book is essential reading not only for students of African American history, but also for all progressives interested in issues of race, politics, and society.
By:   Utz McKnight
Imprint:   Polity Press
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 209mm,  Width: 142mm,  Spine: 25mm
Weight:   394g
ISBN:   9781509535545
ISBN 10:   1509535543
Pages:   240
Publication Date:   03 February 2021
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Utz McKnight is Chair of the Department of Gender and Race Studies, and Professor of Political Science, at the University of Alabama.

Reviews for Frances E. W. Harper: A Call to Conscience

It's rare to read a book that both recovers a brilliant political thinker who has long been neglected, and is filled with luminous insights about contemporary racial politics. Utz McKnight has achieved just this: seamlessly moving from the past to the present and covering fiction, speeches, and poetry with the keen eye of a sophisticated political theorist and literary critic, Frances E. W. Harper is one of the best books I've read in a long time. Alex Zamalin, University of Detroit-Mercy Utz McKnight brings to light, with deep insight, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper as a visionary. Her major works, including the novel Iola Leroy, are artful read by McKnight's for their politics, and reveal Harper to have been a lifelong antislavery feminist. Read this book to discover the incomparable life and penetrating thought of one of the 19th century's most important public intellectuals. Absorb its lessons because, as McKnight so elegantly shows, Harper's aspirations for our democracy remain necessary and timeless. Martha S. Jones, Johns Hopkins University, author of Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All

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