Passing for black? Some scholars have argued that the photograph of Emma Dunham Kelley-Hawkins (left), included in her first novel ''Megda,'' would have announced her as a black author despite the fact that her novels featured apparently white characters and lacked the themes of racial uplift found in the work of contemporaries like Pauline Hopkins (right) and Frances E.W. Harper (second from left). The work of all three women was included in the landmark Schomburg Library of Nineteenth-Century Black Women Writers, named for the black bibliophile and historian Arthur Schomburg.

Mistaken identity

What if a novelist celebrated as a pioneer of African-American women's literature turned out not to be black at all?

By Holly Jackson
February 20, 2005

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IN THE LATE 1980s, scholars of African-American studies carried out the most impressive American literary recovery project to date, excavating and reprinting the works of numerous unjustly forgotten African-American writers. The most ambitious of these efforts was Oxford University Press's 40-volume Schomburg Library of Nineteenth-Century Black Women Writers, published in 1988 under the direction of Henry Louis Gates Jr., currently ... (Full article: 2327 words)

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