A SHINING THREAD OF HOPE by Darlene Clark Hine


The History of Black Women in America
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 The dean of a new generation of historians of black women in America and the editor of a notable reference work have produced a vivid narrative that illuminates the usually marginalized, neglected history of women of African descent in the New World and recasts it as a distinctive American legacy. Hine (Michigan State Univ.) and Thompson (Encyclopedia of Black Women) show how the accomplishments, cultural expressions, and various acts of resistance of black women in American history comprise ``a shining thread of hope'' essential to the coherence of America's social fabric and continuing aspirations as a nation. The authors draw on the work of scholars who, like Hine, are themselves black women and have not only purposefully mined the sparse historical record of black women who participated in mainstream American public life, but also brought to light community builders whose names are not widely known outside the obscure records of black organizations or black oral tradition. From an anonymous woman among the first documented black people in America, the 20 Africans who landed in Jamestown in 1619, to contemporary giants in popular culture and the arts, this book gives context to a succession of firsts by tracing the forces of gender, class, and race African-American women contended with in building an original culture and resilient communities, commingling African traditions and American innovations. Paradoxically rising above a grim story of oppression and struggle with humor and hope, moving beyond the singular exploits of towering figures like Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth, this volume is remarkably grounded in the complexities of the historical record and of black women's lives. A Shining Thread of Hope examines the mythology of the American mainstream as well as demonstrates a scrupulous appreciation of black women as a powerful but largely unacknowledged force in American society. (24 pages b&w photos, not seen) (Author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 21st, 1998
ISBN: 0-7679-0110-X
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Broadway
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1998


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