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A 'Portable' Overview Of A Complex, Compelling History

The Portable Nineteenth-Century African American Women Writers, thoughtfully edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Hollis Robbins, is a rewarding read that reminds us the past isn't a single story.
The Portable Nineteenth-Century African American Women Writers edited by Hollis Robbins. Source: Penguin Classics

Genevieve Valentine's latest novel is Icon.

Mary Prince's story is, in some ways, a familiar narrative. Born a slave around 1788, she was abused by a mistress, Mrs. Wood — beaten, forced to work when ill, refused the chance to buy her freedom. Eventually, she sought emancipation on English soil. When she declares "All slaves want to be free — to be free is very sweet," it feels of a piece with the general story

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