Collected Black Women's Narratives
Introduction by Anthony G. Barthelemy
Spanning the years from 1853 to 1902, these autobiographical narratives offer keen insight into four vastly different lives. Nancy Prince, born free in Massachusetts in 1799, tells of her exotic travels to Europe, Russia, and Jamaica. Susie King Taylor, who gained freedom by escaping behind Union lines with her family in 1862, records her experiences as a teacher, laundress, and nurse with the Union army, and her later experiences during the Reconstruction. Bethany Veney recounts her years in slavery and in freedom, tracing her spiritual growth throughout her life. And Louisa Picquet, who gained freedom in the late 1840s from the man who held her as slave and concubine, focuses on her life as a sexual victim and on her efforts to buy her mother out of slavery. The common struggle for security unites the narratives of these four heroic women, who all sought to maintain dignity and independence in an increasingly violent and consistently racist America.