Harriet Wilson, a daughter of Milford, NH, was the first African American woman to publish a novel in the United States.
In the foreword to this volume, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. explains:
"Wilson's novel ... showed us that slavery and racism existed in New England, just a short journey from Boston and Concord, those hotbeds of Abolition and freethinking that have long been considered the foundation of the American literary tradition. Our Nig turned my understanding of New England on its head.
Harriet Wilson's New England: Race, Writing, and Region is a major contribution to the scholarship on Harriet Wilson and Our Nig. JerriAnne Boggis, Eve Allegra Raimon, and Barbara A. White, the volume's editors, have assembled a collection that represents the tremendous industry that has spung up around Wilson over the past two decades and also points toward new directions of inquiry and exploration for future scholars.
Part I, 'New Hampshire's 'Shadows': Context and History,' recreates, as no other volume has, the world a black woman in mid-nineteenth-century New Hampshire would have experienced." (p. ix-x)