A Shining Thread of Hope

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More about A Shining Thread of Hope

This landmark history reveals how the extraordinary achievements of black women today spring from a legacy of courage, resourcefulness, initiative, and dignity that dates back to their arrival in this country in 1619.

At its greatest moments and in its cruelest times, black women have been a part of this country’s history. And now, the inspiring story of African-American women is explored in vivid detail by two experts in the fields of African-American and women’s history. In this engagingly written narrative, coauthors Darlene Clark Hine and Kathleen Thompson illuminate the roots of the present-day black community and make evident that our understanding of women’s history, and indeed American history, must begin with an understanding of black women’s history.

Challenging preconceived notions about black women’s history in America, A Shining Thread of Hope chronicles the lives of black women from indentured servitude in the early American colonies to the cruelty of antebellum plantations to the reign of lynch law in the Jim Crow South. Tracing the accomplishments, as well as the suffering, of black women through the Great Migration, the Harlem Renaissance, the Depression, and the Civil Rights movements, Hine and Thompson move black women from the fringes of American history to a central position in our understanding of the forces that have shaped this country.

More than a story of oppression and struggle, black women’s history is very much a story of hope. In the face of great obstacles, black women strengthened their communities through the development of women’s groups, charitable organizations, and political groups, and contributed to the larger community as well, as writers, activists, artists, and leaders. A Shining Thread of Hope reveals this history, going beyond descriptions of codified oppression to present the strength and courage of black women, both as individuals and as a collective force for positive change. Encompassing both the panoramic story of black women in America and the intimate, evocative details of the lives of individual women, A Shining Thread of Hope offers a new perspective on this long neglected area of American history.


Praise for A Shining Thread of Hope

"This history of black women is a shining thread of brilliant scholarship that both illumines, and makes whole, the history of this nation.”
Paula Giddings, author of When and Where I Enter

"A Shining Thread of Hope is the book we have all been waiting for--the first comprehensive history of black women in America, meticulously and exhaustively researched and told (in wonderfully readable, eloquent prose) with lucid intelligence and power. It is also compelling drama, the story of an extraordinary group of women who turned a tragedy of injustice into a complex tale of triumph. 'Quite simply,' as the authors put it, 'the way black women approach life works.' This book will be an instant classic, indispensable reading outside as well as inside the academy."
Ann Douglas, Parr Professor of Comparative Literature, author of The Feminization of American Culture

“This is a canonical text for American historians. We have needed it so badly. It is a must read.”
Cornell West

“Darlene Clark Hine and Kathleen Thompson have given us what we sorely need as we say farewell to the twentieth century: a new history of America. I say America because it is precisely the lives and struggles of black women--the most invisible ‘thread’ of all--that can shed the greatest light on our nation’s dark past.”
Robin D. G. Kelly, Professor of History at New York University, author of Yo’ Mama’s DisFunktional! Fighting the Culture Wars in Urban America

"A Shining Thread of Hope is a beautiful tapestry that weaves together the history of black women’s public achievements and private struggles. A compelling synthesis of the secondary literature enriched by a wealth of primary material, this book should find a wide and diverse readership.
--Jacqueline Jones, Brandeis University, author of Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow: Black Women, Work, and the Family from Slavery to the Present

“The lives of black women come alive in this engrossing narrative that makes the newest and most sophisticated scholarship on black women accessible to all readers. By telling the stories of forgotten women with skill and compassion, Hine and Thompson weave the compelling story of black women into American and African-American history. A Shining Thread of Hope is filled with the joys and sorrows of black women through time.”
--Deborah Gray White, author of Ar’n’t I A Woman

“Moving and evocative, A Shining Thread of Hope tells the story of black women in America in their voices and from their perspective. This is a highly readable and invaluable synthesis of a central component of the American experience.”
--Drew Gilpin Faust, University of Pennsylvania, author of Mothers of Invention

“Informative and inspirational, A Shining Thread of Hope is a long overdue history of African American women. This bittersweet narrative is both concise and comprehensive. It is a story about individuals, families, communities, and a nation.”
--Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Director of the Women’s Research and Resource Center, Spelman College, editor of Words of Fire

A Shining Thread of Hope is a unique contribution to our national literature, one that will educate and inspire all of us, men as well as women, white as well as black.”
--Howard Zinn, author of The People’s History of the United States