"dear Doctor du Bois": Anna Julia Cooper, W. E. B. du Bois, and the Gender Politics of Black Publishing

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Abstract

Within the last four decades, selections from Anna Julia Cooper's most well-known work, A Voice from the South by A Black Woman of the South, have been reprinted in anthologies and collections over three dozen times. The prevalence and accessibility of her work in recent anthologies, scholarly editions, and reprints, however, obscures the arduous history that characterized Cooper's attempts to secure a public voice in print. In particular, Cooper's correspondences with W. E. B. Du Bois from 1923 to 1932 reveal the gendered power dynamics endemic in Cooper's attempts to secure adequate publication outlets for her work, while also establishing Cooper's activist approach to and expansive concept of black publishing through which she sought to keep the voices, accomplishments, lives and histories of working- class blacks and African American women centered in the larger public discourse. Attention to Cooper's larger oeuvre and the publication context for her various works contribute to an alternative literary history, one that more fully registers the innovative ways African American women writers have engaged the mechanism of publication and print cultures more generally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-68
Number of pages22
JournalMELUS
Volume40
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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