MEMPHIS DIARY OF I B W (Black Women Writer Series)-Miriam Decosta-Willis

  • Title: MEMPHIS DIARY OF I B W (Black Women Writer Series)
  • Author: Miriam Decosta-Willis
  • Released: 1995-01-01
  • Language:
  • Pages: 214
  • ISBN: 0807070645
  • ISBN13: 978-0807070642
  • ASIN: 0807070645


From Publishers Weekly Wells (1862-1931), an African American journalist who led an antilynching crusade in the 1890s, was born into slavery, orphaned at 16 and worked as a teacher to support her younger siblings. DeCosta-Willis (co-editor of Erotique Noire/Black Erotica) carefully reproduces here, with informed commentary, the diary Wells kept from 1885 to '87, when she lived in boardinghouses and taught school while struggling to get her articles published. The entries provide a unique look at the life of an independent, unmarried African American woman coping with financial hardships, romantic entanglements, sexism and racism. In 1885, Wells was awarded damages after she sued a railroad company because a conductor tried to force her to sit in the "black only" section; the decision was reversed in 1887, prompting her lament "O God, is there no redress, no peace, no justice in this land for us?" Also included are entries from her 1893 and 1930 diaries, as well as some of Wells's newspaper articles. A substantial contribution to African American studies.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal DeCosta-Willis (African American studies, Univ. of Maryland-Baltimore County) has done a superb job of editing this remarkable document. Wells, the noted black journalist, author, and antilynching activist, kept a detailed personal diary while living in Memphis between 1885 and 1887. In it we see an articulate young woman coming to terms with her professional ambitions, her race, and her sexuality. Perhaps the most fascinating passages treat her relations with men and her often acerbic assessments of them. This volume also includes Wells's shorter 1893 travel diary and 1930 Chicago diary as well as selections from her published writing. A very important original source for anyone interested in African American and women's history.
Anthony O. Edmonds, Ball State Univ., Muncie, Ind.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. pdf