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Iola Leroyby Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
Synopses & Reviews
A landmark account of the African American experience during the Civil War and its aftermath
First published in 1892, this stirring novel by the great writer and activist Frances Harper tells the story of the young daughter of a wealthy Mississippi planter who travels to the North to attend school, only to be sold into slavery in the South when it is discovered that she has Negro blood. After she is freed by the Union army, she works to reunify her family and embrace her heritage, committing herself to improving the conditions for blacks in America.
Through her fascinating characters-including Iola's brother, who fights at the front in a colored regiment-Harper weaves a vibrant and provocative chronicle of the Civil War and its consequences through African American eyes in this critical contribution to the nation's literature.
Iola Leroy was originally published in 1892, during a time of black disenfranchisement, lynching, and Jim Crow laws. It is the story of a refined mulatto, Iola, raised to believe she's white until she and her mother are sold into slavery, leading her to become an advocate for her people and a critic of racemixing.
About the Author
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper (1825-1911) was born in Baltimore, Maryland, to free parents. In addition to becoming an esteemed poet and essayist, she was a respected activist for women's rights and the abolitionist movement.
Hollis Robbins is a professor of humanities at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University and affiliated faculty with the Center for Africana Studies.
Henry Louis Gates, Jr., is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University. He is the author of numerous books, as well as a producer and writer of documentaries on African American history and culture.
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