Beginning with Phillis Wheatley black women writers have produced some of the earliest creative, political, scholarly, religious, and personal/public works. As a result, their collective and particular voices have marked the produced some of richest cultural and intellectual contexts of our time. Clearly, their engagement with the most critical issues of their generations-sexuality, oppression, exploitation, violence, slavery, freedom, social progress, racism, aesthetics, and economics, to name a few-remain an important part of our contemporary and ongoing dialogue with the racialized politics of class, and gender. This graduate course studies closely the works of these early women writers and their contribution to a developing cannon of black women's literature-especially in the mid-to-late 19th century. Readings include poetry, drama, essays, speeches, novel, political tracts, spiritual autobiography as well as videos and other secondary readings and sources. Assignments include class discussion, short informal responses, one oral presentation, a bibliographic and critical essay-article length for submission to scholarly journal.