Abstract

“Enterprising Women and the Labors of Femininity: Eliza Potter, Cincinnati Hairdresser” and “Behind the Scenes of Black Labor: Elizabeth Keckley and the Scandal of Publicity"

According to nineteenth-century racial uplift ideology, African American women served their race best as reformers and activists, or as "doers of the word." This book examines the autobiographies of four women who diverged from that ideal and defended the legitimacy of their self-supporting wage labor.