As The Gilded Age captivates audiences with its look at New York at the turn of the previous century many people are looking back at writers from that time period, like Mark Twain, Edith Wharton or Henry James. All valid choices but one of the most respected was Pauline Hopkins.
Born in Maine in the late 1800s she was an editor of the Colored American Magazine and was also the author of four novels: Contending Forces: A Romance Illustrative of Negro Life North and South; Hagar’s Daughter: A Story of Southern Cast Prejudice; Winona: A Tale of Negro Life in the South and Southwest and Of One Blood; Or, The Hidden Self.
A prolific non-fiction writer as well she, through her work with the Colored American Magazine and The Voice of the Negro, was able to cover a wide range of topics that are, distressingly, still relevant today: women’s rights; black history and the effects of racial and financial discrimination.
Hopkins was also a lauded vocalist and lyricist having wrote the musical Slaves Escape; or The Underground Railroad but, much like the Scott family of the show, despite Ms. Hopkins being far better educated and talented than most of her white counterparts she was not, and hasn’t been, afforded the same acclaim or fame.
So, this Women’s History Month, take some time to get to know her better here!