“A race, no less than a nation, is prosperous in proportion to the intelligence of its women.” (M.A. Majors, 1893)

Reconstruction after the Civil War was a fraught with overwhelming new challenges for millions of African Americans, not all of whom were recently-emancipated slaves. The next 100 years would see a struggle for American citizens to claim full citizenship and to end the reign of terror that accompanied emancipation.

Yet flourishing in this cauldron of oppression were people who, despite being held down not only because of their race but also because of their sex, succeeded beyond what their birth circumstances would have predicted. They were businesswomen, teachers, doctors, lawyers poets, singers, agitators, scientists, and mathematicians.

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