Wish List of Black Women Writers

This Wish List of Black Women Writers aims to recover the exclusion of Black women from the Women’s Department of the 1884 New Orleans World’s Fair. These women published influential literary works, across a variety of disciplines, before or shortly after the fair. In selecting women to include on the list, we did not want to limit our recovery work to people already published before the Fair. Instead, because there were publishing barriers and systemic exclusionary practices, we decided to include women who were writing in or influenced by the same historical context in which the Fair occurred. We included writers across diverse genres including children’s literature, journalism, memoir, autobiography, fiction, and religious writings. We did this in order to reflect the variety of genres present in the Women’s Department to ensure Black women writers would be represented across the exhibit. As examined by our fellow contributor here, we were limited by the information available and therefore acknowledge that a complete recovery of Black women writers from the 19th Century is stunted by what has been excluded from the historical record. The following names are the beginning of a Wish List that we encourage future scholars to contribute to: