Document Type


Date of Award



College of Liberal Arts and Behavioral Sciences (COLABS)

Degree Name

MA in English

First Advisor

Dr. Shirley Walker Moore


This thesis explores the topic of Black feminism in the nineteenth century and attempts to chronicle the suffering and perseverance of African-American slaves. The primary sources used in this research include Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin or Life Among the Lowly and Frances E. W. Harper's lola Leroy and Minnie's Sacrifice. These texts establish a central focus on Black feminism; suffering and perseverance are of vital significance in the lives of Cassy, lola and Minie respectively. This study also presents a strong focus on the historical and didactic perspectives in which suffering and perseverance are juxtaposed. Undoubtedly, the authors, Stowe and Harper are cognizant of the problem, which the selected characters face. Consequently, their literary works attempt to reveal the struggle against racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression evident in African American literature. In addition, the study also draws on the strategies which these women devise in their bid to survive and rise above their circumstances. The primary methods which were employed during the course of this study include library research, the use of the internet to glean relevant materials, and frequent meetings with professors who provided much needed guidance. During this research, the Margaret Patterson Research Engine was used in order to locate literature, which bears relevance to this thesis. Upon formulating my thesis, I also expanded on ideas from previous graduate classes and presentations, which were made. For instance, the theme of Black feminism and the tragic mulatto are major motifs, which I decided to research prior to this course of study. In addition to the problem and methods used, this research also reveals results and conclusions. It establishes an important definition for Black feminism, and identifies the origin of the problem. This thesis, no doubt, lends credence to related literature, which addresses Black feminism and the issue of suffering and perseverance during the nineteenth century era. Hence, the results incorporate the contents of the thesis; one significant result is the didactic perspective of suffering and perseverance, which include the origin of suffering and perseverance and provides a historical context. Perhaps a major conclusion of this study is that there exists adequate evidence to support the claim that the nineteenth century Black woman encountered much suffering, but irrespective of her oppression, she survived her ordeals and stood her ground like Cassy in Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, lola and Minnie in Harper's lola Leroy and Minnie's Sacrifice.