I SPEAK FOR MY BLACK SISTER by Margaret Hope Bacon


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Virtually unknown today, Abby Kelley Foster was a controversial anti-slavery orator and a leader of the most radical abolitionist faction. As a young woman she polarized the movement and was publicly labeled a ""Jezebel"" for insisting on her right to speak and vote in meetings attended by men. Later she worked for William Lloyd Garrison's ""nonvoting"" abolitionists and continued to oppose violent resistance, participation in politics and the United States Constitution itself long after Garrison defected to support the Civil War. And after the war Abby continued to fight for the adoption of the thirteenth amendment, disagreeing with her husband and old friends over coupling the issues of black and woman suffrage. Although her long career knew many dramatic moments (Mrs. Foster was often pelted with rotten eggs and physically threatened) the unending round of lecture and fund-raising tours can become as wearying to the reader as it ultimately was to her. But Margaret Bacon uses Abby Foster's voluminous, emotionally intense letters to create a vigorous three-dimensional portrait which balances public actions with her unusually egalitarian marriage to fellow abolitionist Stephen S. Foster, and the well-researched background of the antislavery movement focuses on both philosophical debates and the flavor of fund raising fairs and popular meetings. Abby Foster accomplished much even though her inflexible principles sometimes led to sterile factionalism and, no doubt, contributed to her present obscurity; many of her ideas and enthusiasms (right down to health food and ESP) have obvious, implicit relevance. A conscientious account, to stir more serious-minded readers. Bibliography and suggestions for further reading included.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1974
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: T.Y. Crowell