Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Frances E.W. Harper's "Undisputed Dignity"

"Only the BLACK WOMAN can say 'when and where I enter, in the quiet, undisputed dignity of my womanhood, without violence and without suing for special patronage, then and there, the whole Negro race enters with me.'"--Anna Julia Cooper, A Voice from the South, 1892 
Frances E. W. Harper (1825-1911)
Hi, class,

Next week, we will be taking a look at a couple of other pieces by Frances E.W. Harper, whose poems we looked at during the first week of class (links to the poems at bottom). Her short story, "The Two Offers," is regarded as the first short story published by an African American (in 1859). I have decided to use Harper, who lived across the span of the long nineteenth century, as our bridge from the antebellum era to the beginnings of 20th century black modernity.

I will give you a handout of "The Colored People in America" (listed on the syllabus) and have also given you links to three of her most important speeches ("Liberty for Slaves," "We Are All Bound Up Together," and "The Great Problem to be Solved"). I am also giving you Lincoln's "2nd Inaugural Address" and "Gettysburg Address."

Please read "The Two Offers" and "Liberty for Slaves" over the weekend and be ready to comment on a section that you find of particular significance--pay attention to diction, language, tone, and theme. What is significant about each piece? What do you notice about the rhetorical style? 

We will look at the post-Civil War (after 1865) Harper speeches, as well as the Lincoln, after we read/discuss/analyze Harriet Wilson's Our Nig (in about 3 weeks). I just wanted you to have access to them as soon as possible.  

Short Story:

"The Two Offers" (1859)


Frances E.W. Harper, "We Are All Bound Up Together" (1866)

Frances E.W. Harper, "The Great Problem to be Solved" (1875)

Other Harper poems:
Ancillary reading:

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