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Ahead of Her Time: Abby Kelley & the Politics of Antislavery Hardcover – June 15, 1992


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 436 pages
  • Publisher: W W Norton & Co (June 15, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393030261
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393030266
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,109,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A little-noticed figure in the early civil rights movement is brought to the forefront by Sterling, whose We Are Your Sisters depicts the experiences of black women in the 19th century. Twenty years before the Civil War, Abby Kelley, a young white Quaker, became a noted Abolitionist. In her travels through the North, she was vilified not only for her stand against slavery but also for protesting the exclusion of women from voting rights. While joining such renowned leaders in both movements as Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Lucy Stone and Lucretia Mott, Kelley remained true to her rural roots and, as wife and mother, loyal to Quaker simplicity. At an 1839 meeting of the American Anti-Slavery Society, she led the fight to substitute the word "persons" for men in official records. This useful, detailed and enlightening biography will appeal more to the student of history than to the general reader. Illustrations not seen by PW.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

For 19th-century feminists, abolitionism provided a platform as well as a subject, and both of these books explore the symbiosis between the two reform efforts. In her study of the radical abolitionist and early feminist Abby Kelley, Sterling proficiently explicates the political and ideological frac tures in the antislavery community in which she was deeply and contentiously involved. Sterling also skillfully evokes the difficulties Kelley confronted in maintaining a public career in 19th-century America, including conflicts over marriage to the volatile Stephen Foster and her relationship with her daughter Alla. However, this book would have been improved by less detail and more judicious analysis. Venet looks at an array of women activists in the Civil War years. Filling a gap in the literature of both abolitionism and 19th-century feminism, Venet emphasizes particularly the importance of the Women's National Loyal League (WNLL), the organization established by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. She also stresses the roles played by the extraordinary young orator Anna Dickinson and by writers Harriet Beecher Stowe and Fanny Kemble. Venet's theme is the transition for women from moral reform to politics, the purpose for which the WNLL was designed, and she charts with insight the ways in which Stanton and Anthony negotiated a difficult terrain. But Venet's treatment lacks the connections needed to produce a tight, closely argued narrative. Both books will attract a scholarly audience rather than a public one.
- Cynthia Harrison, Federal Judicial Ctr., Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Format: Paperback
My mother bought this book because this profile picture looked so much like her; because Abbey Kelley Foster was a Quaker, and our family is Quaker, and because it was about an abolitionist and suffragette. I read the book before my mother did. Dorothy Sterling does pretty thorough research into the network of Quaker abolitionists, and those of other persuasions. She lays groundwork for what influenced each player, their leans, and especially for the influences on Abbey Kelley. I found her depiction of Quakerism respectful and accurate. Dorothy Sterling is a very dry writer in this book, so I struggled through it. However, as a result of reading it, Abbey Kelley Foster has become one of my greatest heroines of all time. I did not know that The Society of Friends influenced Leo Tolstoy, who influenced Ghandi. I did not know that many abolitionists and suffragettes, such as Abbey Kelley Foster, were disowned for their activism. I was interested that Lucretia Mott, a well known abolitionist and suffragette, eldered Abbey; and that Abbey Kelley Foster chose not to permit the constraints of her religion influence her actions. This was an historical movement in the U.S. that turned out to ultimately be successful. This book portrayed part of the heart of what was successful in the abolitionist movement by telling the life story of one if its more obscure, but very influential players.
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Format: Paperback
A MUST READ for anyone who studies the Civil Rights movement. She was totally obscure in her time and shadowed by others of more fame. But what she did for the cause of abolition and women's rights is above anyone else as far as I am concerned. And there is much work being done in Boston and Worcester, MA to bring her letters and writings to light so everyone can read and appreciate what she went through. There needs to be more written about her!
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