"Our Literary Women" and "Personal," The Freeman, Jan 5, 1889

Dublin Core


"Our Literary Women" and "Personal," The Freeman, Jan 5, 1889


Artists--Sculptors--US American
Black Periodicals
Gender Norms
Lewis, Edmonia, 1844-1907
Racism/Racist Violence


This excerpt from The Freeman shows, on the left, a feature on "The Literary Colored Women of America" written by Gertrude Mossell (including illustrations of Josephine Heard, Ida B. Wells, Mary Ella Mossell, and Francis Ellen Watkins Harper) and, on the right, the column "Personal," here with a short update on the success of Edmonia Lewis and mention of Lucy Wilmot Smith's upcoming "Women as Journalists."
Mossell opens her feature with an account of the disadvantages Black and poor women face, and why they have thus in the past not achieved the same level of literary and journalistic greatness as others. She ends on a hopeful note, before offering accounts of the accomplishments of several Black female writers of the era.


Readex: America's Historical Newspapers


Mossell, Gertrude Emily Hicks Bustill, 1855-1848





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[on the left]
"Literary work, to be successfully accomplished requires leisure a mind at ease[?]. Women, and especially poor women, seldom possess these requisites. They have little time they can call their own and the cares and trials incidental to the life[?] of the sex, especially among the poor, leave the mind in a continual state of distraction, caused by the desire and necessity of making ends meet. The women of the race have alle the +++ incident to the lives of other women and added to these peculiar +++ of their own growing out of their position of the inheritors of the oppression of slavery and its twin sister +++ prejudice. Few of them have had time to think or to write out their thoughts, and yet withal there are faint glimmerings here and there along the intellectual horizon of our race that these scorned and oppressed once have talent and a strong inclination in the line of literary work; this is being proven every day. The A.M.E Review, Christian Recorder, The Negro, The Alumni Magazine, Our Women and Children, The New York Age, Detroit Plaindealer, and Boston Advocate have largely the means of bringing the reserve corps of writers into prominence. Their work may show but a +++ of small things, but it shows also cause for hope for the future. If in so short a time, with so few advantages, so much has been accomplished, what may we not expect in the new era of education and intelligence dawing upon us. ..."

[on the right]
"Edmonia Lewis, in her far away studio in Italy, is sending her works of art all over the world. She has lately made a
statue of St. Charles Borromeo for a gentleman in Brooklyn and a larger work for the church of St. Charles Borromeo. Miss Lewis' life is one of marked achievement.
Miss Lucy Wilmot Smith, of the State University, Louisville, Ky., has been requested by the editor of the Journalist, a paper published in New York and devoted to the interests of newspapers, writers, authors, artists, and publishers, to write an article on female writers of the Negro race for the January number, and she is now endeavoring to make
that article such as will reflect credit and convince a reading people of the ability of a rising people. – Our Women
and Children.
The next issue of The Freeman will contain an excellent cut and sketch of Miss Smith and other literary women of the race."

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Mossell, Gertrude Emily Hicks Bustill, 1855-1848, “"Our Literary Women" and "Personal," The Freeman, Jan 5, 1889,” Archival Gossip Collection, accessed March 26, 2023, https://archivalgossip.com/collection/items/show/995.

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