"Widens the frame of analysis for reading the lives and texts of nineteenth-century Black women. . . . A must read for scholars, teachers, and students of gender, race, and class studies as well as literary studies."
"Offers the promising approach of using labor as a means to parse the interlocking identities of race, class, and gender."
American Historical Review
"Providing an erudite analysis of an under-appreciated text, Santamarina deepens our understanding of nineteenth-century black working women's commitment to making and disseminating knowledge about themselves, their community, and the wider world. Such insight makes Belabored Professions
an invaluable contribution to the fields of literary criticism, American history, and African American studies."
North Carolina Historical Review
From the Inside Flap
Santamarina examines four autobiographies by nineteenth-century African American women. Moving beyond the calls for abolition that marked the writings of black elites during this time, these former slaves and free black women wrote about their own overlooked or disparaged work as socially and culturally valuable to the nation, elevating the status of wage labor as a mark of self-reliance and civic virtue.