Suzanne Scafe

Suzanne Scafe is a lecturer in English and communication at Brixton College of Further Education. Her Teaching Black Literature will appear from Virago this year. A study of black American women writers between 1860 and 1960, Invented Lives by Mary Helen Washington, is published by Virago on 16 February (477 pp., £8.50, 1 85381 028 2).

I told him I was ready to die

Suzanne Scafe, 16 February 1989

These three titles are the first of what will eventually be a 30-volume set of writing by black American women in the 19th century. They are being published in an attempt by the Schomburg Centre for Research in Black Culture to make more widely available some of their 100,000 bound volumes of writing by black Americans since the 16th century. Despite the legal constraints on reading and writing among slaves, there was a considerable body of work by black people – slaves as well as freemen – even before Emancipation.

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