The readings in this unique anthology give readers a sense of early black feminism across regions, movements and organizations. African American women have been 'up and doing' for their communities for as long as they have been in the United States, and their ability to resist the institution of slavery was central to the survival of African Americans. This anthology gives readers access to African American feminist thought in its foundational period by drawing together key documents from the late 1820s through the 1920s. Going beyond a focus on the 'greats' of black feminism to include lesser known figures, ""We Must Be Up and Doing"" offers a broad and contextualized look at the critical mass early black feminism achieved by including a variety of genres, such as the spiritual autobiography, the platform speech, periodical articles, pamphlets, fiction, and excerpts from convention and conference proceedings.
Teresa C. Zackodnick is Professor of English at the University of Alberta.