"How wicked and cruel this prejudice": Gender, race and class in Civil War Era-related Fiction of Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
How did 19th-century American black writers construct race, class and gender? Through a focus on Civil-War related fiction of one African American woman writer, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, this paper broadly addresses black writers’ treatment of these phenomena and their enduring strains in American culture. It was found that not only does Harper emphasize race, class and gender in the fiction studied; but societal norms embedded in these phenomena seem to be the reasons for the fiction read, especially race. Indeed, she portrayed racism, “classism,” and sexism as roots of great harm to individuals and to society. Harper was atypical, and images in her writing, not surprisingly, generally depart from dominant norms. The research is not generalizable, of course, but it implies avenues worthy of further study.