ABSTRACT

In 1831 Maria W. Stewart asked,“How long shall the fair daughters of Africa be compelled to bury their minds and talents beneath a load of iron pots and kettles?” Orphaned at age five, bound out to a clergyman’s family as a domestic servant, Stewart struggled to gather isolated fragments of an education when and where she could. As the first American woman to lecture in public on political issues and to leave copies of her texts, this early U.S. Black woman intellectual foreshadowed a variety of themes taken up by her Black feminist successors (Richardson 1987).