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Hagar's Daughter. A Story of Southern Caste Prejudice

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By: (1859-1930)

Hagar's Daughter is a powerful and thought-provoking novel that delves into the complex issues of race, class, and identity in post-Civil War America. The story follows the life of the protagonist, Hagar, a biracial woman who struggles to find her place in a society that is deeply divided by caste prejudice.

The author, Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins, skillfully weaves together a narrative that highlights the harsh realities faced by people of mixed race during this time period. Through Hagar's experiences, we are able to see the impact of racism and discrimination on individuals who are caught between two worlds.

Hopkins does not shy away from the difficult and uncomfortable aspects of race relations in the South, tackling themes of colorism, discrimination, and social hierarchy head-on. The characters are well-developed and complex, each with their own struggles and motivations that make them feel real and relatable.

Overall, Hagar's Daughter is a gripping and emotional read that sheds light on a hidden and often forgotten aspect of American history. It is a deeply moving story that challenges readers to confront their own biases and assumptions about race and identity. This novel is a must-read for anyone interested in exploring the complexities of race relations in America.

Book Description:
Hagar's Daughter was first published serially in "The Colored American Magazine" in 1901-1902 by Pauline E. Hopkins, a prominent African-American novelist, journalist, historian, and playwright. The book was described as "a powerful narrative of love and intrigue, founded on events which happened in the exciting times immediately following the assassination of President Lincoln: a story of the Republic in the power of Southern caste prejudice toward the Negro." (From the January, 1901, issue of "The Colored American Magazine")

In another of her works, the author explained the nature and purpose of her literary efforts: "But, after all, it is the simple, homely tale, unassumingly told, which cements the bond of brotherhood among all classes and all complexions. Fiction is of great value to any people as a preserver of manners and customs—religious, political and social. It is a record of growth and development from generation to generation. No one will do this for us; we must ourselves develop the men and women who will faithfully portray the inmost thoughts and feelings of the Negro with all the fire and romance which lie dormant in our history, and, as yet, unrecognized by writers of the Anglo-Saxon race." (From the Preface, Contending Forces, 1900)

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