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Making the World a Better Place: African American Women Advocates, Activists, and Leaders, 1773-1900
by Jacqueline Jones Royster
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2023
Paper: 978-0-8229-6706-4 | eISBN: 978-0-8229-8991-2

In Making the World a Better Place, Royster argues that African American women must be taken seriously as historical actors who were more consistently and more variously engaged in community- and nation-building than they have been given credit for. Their considerable rhetorical expertise becomes evident when looking carefully at their work in terms of identity, agency, authority, and expressiveness. Their writings constitute a substantial artifactual record of their levels of engagement, their excellence in sociopolitical work, and the legacies of leadership and action. The writing of African American women during the nineteenth century reflects their own perceptions of the ways and means of their lives. They deserve to be recognized as consequential contributors to the narratives of the nation, rather than marginalized as a group. To that end, Jacqueline Jones Royster offers a deeper understanding, often through their own words, of these women, their practices, and their achievements. 

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