Spartacus Review

Volume 55: 26th October, 2011

Civil Rights

Title: Women's Work: An Anthology of


Editor: Laurie F. Maffly-Kipp & Kathryn Lofton

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Price: £60.00

Bookshop: Amazon

Spartacus Website: The Civil Rights Movement


Women have always been historians. Whether in schoolrooms or kitchens, state houses or church pulpits, women functioned as teachers of history and historical interpreters, offering narrations of the past to criticize existent narratives and inspire new ones. Within African-American communities, women began to write histories in the years after the American Revolution. Distributed through churches, seminaries, public schools, and auxiliary societies, their stories of the past translated ancient Africa, slavery, and ongoing American social reform to populist audiences North and South. In the United States, black women have labored to sustain the cogency of their race and their families through the promotion of education, Christian and historical, for themselves and for their families. This book surveys the creative ways in which African American women harnessed the power of print to share their historical revisions with a broader public. These speeches, textbooks, poems, and polemics did more than just recount the past. They also protested their present status in the United States, using history to write a new story for the future of African America.

Title: Fighting Chance: The Struggle over

Author: Faye E. Dudden


Publisher: Oxford University Press

Price: £22.50

Bookshop: Amazon

Spartacus Website: Women's Suffrage


The advocates of woman suffrage and black suffrage came to a bitter falling-out in the midst of Reconstruction, when Elizabeth Cady Stanton opposed the 15th Amendment for granting black men the right to vote but not women. How did these two causes, so long allied, come to this? In a lively narrative of insider politics, betrayal, deception, and personal conflict, Fighting Chance offers fresh answers to this question and reveals that racism was not the only cause, but that the outcome also depended heavily on money and political maneuver. Historian Faye Dudden shows that Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, believing they had a fighting chance to win woman suffrage after the Civil War, tried but failed to exploit windows of political opportunity, especially in Kansas. When they became most desperate, they succeeded only in selling out their long-held commitment to black rights and their invaluable friendship and alliance with Frederick Douglass. Based on extensive research, Fighting Chance is a major contribution to women's history and to 19th-century political history.