Public Program- Nazera Wright

Lectures and performances
Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - 7:00pm

Black Girlhood in the Nineteenth Century

by Nazera Sadiq Wright

View Program

Black Girlhood book cover
Scholars have explored how nineteenth-century scrapbooks and friendship albums circulated among free black women in the North to showcase their middle-class status and close networks. However, little is known about how black girls participated in this sentimental practice. In this lecture, Nazera Sadiq Wright will discuss how histories of black girlhood are often “buried” in literary genres less likely to be studied. Recovering these histories involves using types of literature that move beyond the bound book. To locate evidence of their lives, she explores the often uncatalogued signatures and inscriptions written in nineteenth-century black girls’ autograph albums to reveal the wide-ranging impact that early friendships, alliances, and associations had on black girls’ intellectual and political development. For example, autograph albums owned by Sallie and Miranda Venning, two sisters from a middle-class African American family in Philadelphia, reveal that in their youthful years, the Venning girls were building alliances that would connect them to a black elite. Through such “unexpected spaces” as autograph albums, Wright will discuss how it is possible to recover buried histories of black girlhood in the nineteenth century.

Nazera Sadiq Wright is an associate professor of English at the University of Kentucky. Her book, Black Girlhood in the Nineteenth Century (2016), won the 2018 Children’s Literature Association’s Honor Book Award for Outstanding Book of Literary Criticism. Her research is supported by the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. During 2017–18, she was in residence at the Library Company of Philadelphia as a National Endowment of the Humanities Fellow and an Andrew W. Mellon Program in African American History Fellow to advance her second book on the influence of libraries on the literary careers of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century African American women writers.

Quick Links

Catalog | Login | Digital A-Z


Monday: 9-5
Tuesday: 10-5
Wednesday: 9-5
Thursday: 9-5
Friday: 9-5

Keep in Touch

Link to AAS Facebook Link to AAS TwitterLink to AAS BlogLink to AAS Instagram   Link to AAS YouTube