Black Women’s Intellectual Traditions

Speaking Their Minds

Edited by Kristin Waters and Carol B. Conaway

An astonishing wealth of literary and intellectual work by nineteenth-century Black women is being rediscovered and restored to print in scholarly and popular editions. In Kristin Waters’s and Carol B. Conaway’s landmark edited collection, Black Women’s Intellectual Traditions: Speaking Their Minds, sophisticated commentary on this rich body of work chronicles a powerful and interwoven legacy of activism based in social and political theories that helped shape the history of North America. The book meticulously reclaims this American legacy, providing a collection of critical analyses of the primary sources and their vital traditions. Written by leading scholars, Black Women’s Intellectual Traditions is particularly powerful in its exploration of the pioneering thought and action of the nineteenth-century Black woman lecturer and essayist Maria W. Stewart, abolitionist Sojourner Truth, novelist and poet Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, educator Anna Julia Cooper, newspaper editor Mary Ann Shadd Cary, and activist Ida B. Wells. The distinguished contributors are Hazel V. Carby, Patricia Hill Collins, Karen Baker-Fletcher, Kristin Waters, R. Dianne Bartlow, Carol B. Conaway, Olga Idriss Davis, Vanessa Holford Diana, Evelyn Simien, Janice W. Fernheimer, Michelle N. Garfield, Joy James, Valerie Palmer-Mehta, Carla L. Peterson, Marilyn Richardson, Evelyn M. Simien, Ebony A. Utley, Mary Helen Washington, Melina Abdullah, and Lena Ampadu. The volume will interest scholars and readers of African-American and women’s studies, history, rhetoric, literature, poetry, sociology, political science, and philosophy. This updated edition features a new preface by the editors in the light of new developments in current scholarship.

Paper: $40 | E-book: $39.95
ISBN-13: 9781684581412
Pages: 496 | Size: 6 in. x 9 in.
Date Published: September 15, 2022

“This anthology represents a new paradigm for understanding the historical and contemporary intellectual production of African American women.”

The Journal of African American History


  • Black Women's Intellectual Traditions challenges us not just to insert black women into feminist histories, but to expand and rework our definitions and histories of feminism and of African American intellectual traditions . . . Black Women's Intellectual Traditions is about the future as well as the past, and about what can be, as well as what has been, done. Its message should resonate with those in the academy and beyond, those explicitly identified as feminists and those who might deny (or be denied) that designation, and women and men of all races who seek to study, teach, and promote the black feminist vision of resistance to injustice.

    Journal of American History
  • Kristen Waters and Carol Conaway's Black Women's Intellectual Traditions: Speaking their Minds is an interpretative examination and reclamation of the intellectual traditions of African American women in North America. This volume is skillfully crafted, prominently displaying black female intellectualism and activism that is centered in a culture of resistance and grounded in traditions born of their lived experiences. This anthology represents a new paradigm for understanding the historical and contemporary intellectual production of African American women.

    The Journal of African American History
  • The reader, whether familiar with the intellectuals and traditions covered in this text or seeking knowledge about them for the first time, is guaranteed to learn something new from this masterful collection of essays.

    Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society
  • A remarkable and invaluable anthology... I read with pleasure the splendid analyses of black women’s activism and the thought-provoking interpretations of their textured voices in slave narratives, speeches, religious sermons, letters, and expressive productions.

    Darlene Clark Hine
    Board of Trustees Professor of African American Studies and Professor of History, Northwestern University
  • In one wonderfully rich and comprehensive volume, Waters and Conaway present the foundation of the groundbreaking, but little known, history of black women's early intellectual pursuits.

    A'Lelia Bundles
    author, producer, and Chair of the Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Book Prize

About the Author

Kristin B. Waters

Kristin Waters is the author of Maria W. Stewart and the Roots of Black Political Thought (2021), Women and Men Political Theorists: Enlightened Conversations (2000), which remains one of the few race and gender-inclusive political theory collections. She is coeditor of Black Women’s Intellectual Traditions: Speaking Their Minds (2007), which received the Letitia Woods Brown Award from the Association of Black Women Historians and was named to the list of 50 …

Carol B. Conaway

Carol B. Conaway is Associate Professor Emerita of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of New Hampshire and an expert on the press and race relations.

Table Of Contents

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