LEGACY REPRINT Kerstin Rudolph University of Mississippi here is no one so black that is not akin to me,” Victoria Earle Matthews “T proclaimed at a conference organized by the Federation of Churches and Christian Organizations in New York City (“Mrs. Virginia Matthews” 57). Mat- thews, who could pass as white because of her racially indeterminate appear- ance, lived by these words in her work as an African American clubwoman and social reformer. This affirmation of black identity is also key in her fic- tion. “Eugenie’s Mistake: A Story” (1892) and “Zelika—A Story” (1892), both reprinted here, are part of the body of fiction by African American women writers and activists written during the 1880s and 1890s that explicitly takes up the stories of light- skinned black women, including those who often passed unknowingly. Like many of her fellow authors, Matthews chooses the South as the locale for her stories and places them in the recent past, either when slavery is still a reality or when the legacies of miscegenation and segregation still loom large. The feelings of kinship and pride in black heritage expressed in Matthews’s quotation above drive these stories. Both “Eugenie’s Mistake” and “Zelika” are remarkable
Legacy – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Jul 29, 2016
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