Maria W. Stewart

was the first American-born woman to lecture in defense of women's rights.  A pioneer black abolitionist, a woman of profound religious faith, and a champion of women's rights.  She was in the forefront of a black female activist and literary tradition, only now beginning to be recognized as of integral importance to understanding the history of black thought and culture in America.  Stewart was a forerunner to Frederic Douglas, Sojourner Truth, Frances Harper, and generations of the most influential champions of black activism, male and female.

Marilyn Richardson's fascinating introduction to Maria W. Stewart, America's First Black Woman Political Writer, provides a biographical sketch of this bold and militant woman, placing her in the context of the swirling abolitionist movement.  In gathering and introducing Stewart's works, Richardson provides an opportunity for readers to study the thoughts and words, performing as Maria W. Stewart, Gwendolyn provides an opportunity for audiences to hear the thoughts and words of this influential early black activist.

(Marilyn Richardson, Assistant Professor in the Writing Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. )