Ohio University Press · Swallow Press ·

Stepping Forward
Black Women in Africa and the Americas

Edited by Catherine Higgs, Barbara A. Moss, and Earline Rae Ferguson

“Catherine Higgs provides an absorbing account of rival black women’s self-help organizations in Cape Province, South Africa, from 1922 to 1952 that considers issues of education and status, class and ethnicity, effects of male outmigration, and even marital infidelity!”

African Studies Review

A unique and important study, Stepping Forward examines the experiences of nineteenth- and twentieth-century black women in Africa and African diaspora communities from a variety of perspectives in a number of different settings.

This wide-ranging collection designed for classroom use explores the broad themes that have shaped black women’s goals, options, and responses: religion, education, political activism, migration, and cultural transformation. Essays by leading scholars in the field examine the lives of black women in the United States and the Caribbean Basin; in the white settler societies of Kenya, Zimbabwe, and South Africa; and in the black settler societies of Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Among the contributors to this volume are historians, political scientists, and scholars of literature, music, and law. What emerges from their work is an image of black women’s agency, self-reliance, and resiliency. Despite cultural differences and geographical variations, black women have provided foundations on which black communities have not only survived, but also thrived. Stepping Forward is a valuable addition to our understanding of women’s roles in these diverse communities.

Catherine Higgs is Professor of History in the Department of History and Sociology in the Irving K. Barber Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus. She is the author of The Ghost of Equality: The Public Lives of D.D.T. Jabavu of South Africa, 1885–1959, Chocolate Islands: Cocoa, Slavery, and Colonial Africa, and coeditor of Stepping Forward: Black Women in Africa and the Americas, all published by Ohio University Press.   More info →

Barbara A. Moss is an assistant professor of history at Clark Atlanta University in Georgia.   More info →

Earline Rae Ferguson is an assistant professor of history at the University of Rhode Island.   More info →


“This volume presents the edited proceedings of a conference held at the University of Tennessee from September 15 to 18, 1999, and funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and the University of Tennessee. The meeting brought together scholars from South Africa, Jamaica, and the United States to examine the comparative experiences of nineteenth- and twentieth-cen- tury black women in African and African diaspora communities. The idea for the conference—and this volume—grew out of our common interests in black women, their lives, their actions, and their aspirations. As scholars, we had met at various conferences in the past and we were intrigued by the similarities in the assumptions black women made and the strategies they employed despite their cultural and geographic differences.…”
— Introduction


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Retail price: $36.95, S.
Release date: November 2002
368 pages · 6 × 9 in.
Rights:  World

Retail price: $70.00, S.
Release date: November 2002
368 pages · 6 × 9 in.
Rights:  World

Release date: November 2002
368 pages
Rights:  World

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