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Anna Taylor Sweringen/Michal Scott: Homespun Heroines and Other Women of Distinction (Contest)
Sunday, February 25th, 2024

UPDATE: The winner is…Mary McCoy!

For Black History Month, my post will focus on an amazing book I discovered while researching my October 2023 D.D. post on Hallie Q. Brown (1850-1950). Published by Ms. Brown in 1926, Homespun Heroines and Other Women of Distinction contains sixty biographical sketches/essays written by twenty-nine contributors. Ms. Brown wrote 21 of them.

Here is the book’s dedication which includes a verse of poetry by poet Clara Ann Thompson (1869-1949):

In memory of the many mothers who were loyal in tense and trying times, this volume is affectionately dedicated to the National Association of Colored Women of America and Canada.

Through all the blight of slavery
They kept their womanhood
And now they march with heads erect,
To fight for all things good,
Nor care for scorn nor seek for praise,
Just so they please their God.

Whether well-known like Phillis Wheatley or less well-known like Martha Payne, the mother of Daniel Payne, who founded Wilberforce University, each essay shares how these women impacted society in whatever role they found themselves.  By publishing Homespun Heroines, Hallie Brown and her co-authors made sure the world learned about women worthy of remembrance regardless of their “lot” in life.

In the foreword, author and teacher Josephine Turpin Washington (1861-1949) begins:

“Interesting as are the facts recorded in this book, they do not constitute its chief value. That is found in its reflection of the wonderful spirit which moved the women who strove and achieved, despite obstacles greater than any which have stood in the way of other upward struggles.”

Then she ends with, “The result is a work which not only furnishes useful information, but—what is even more—inspires to finer character and racial development.”

My edition of Homespun Heroines is part of a collaboration between the Schomburg Library in Harlem, Dr. Henry Louis Gates, and Oxford University Press. In his Note from the Schomburg, Howard Dodson, the Schomburg’s director at the time, wrote that when titles from the 19th century were being reprinted in the 1960s, with the exception of well-known names like Phillis Wheatley, the work of women was notably absent. The Schomburg therefore created The Schomburg Library of Nineteenth-Century Black Women.

By sharing my African American women posts here on Delilah’s blog I think that I too am honoring the “memory of the many mothers who were loyal in tense and trying times” as Hallie Brown and her co-authors did. Their work has inspired me to begin compiling information on African American women of the modern era as well as continuing to share about those from the 19th century. I’ve already written about some of the women found in Homespun Heroine’s pages. I look forward to sharing about others I’m discovering thanks to this fantastic resource.

For a chance at a $10 Amazon Gift Card, share in the comments any thoughts you might have on this post or the name of a resource that you’ve learned Women’s History from.

One Breath Away by Michal Scott

Sentenced to hang for a crime she didn’t commit, former slave Mary Hamilton was exonerated at literally the last gasp. She returns to Safe Haven, broken and resigned to live alone. She’s never been courted, cuddled or spooned, and now no man could want her, not when sexual satisfaction comes only with the thought of asphyxiation. But then the handsome stranger who saved her shows up, stealing her breath from across the room and promising so much more. Wealthy, freeborn-Black, Eban Thurman followed Mary to Safe Haven, believing the mysteriously exotic woman was foretold by the stars. He must marry her to reclaim his family farm. But first he must help her heal, and to do that means revealing his own predilection for edgier sex. Hope ignites along with lust until the past threatens to keep them one breath away from love…


Arousal—fondly remembered and sorely missed—sizzled between Mary Hamilton’s well- rounded thighs. Moisture coated her nether lips and threatened to stoke the sizzle into a blaze. The sensation surprised her, as did the owner of the gaze that lit the flame.

Eban Thurman stood against an opposite wall of the town’s community hall. Although the room was wide as two barns and filled with revelers, neither the distance nor the presence of the crowd lessened the power of his gaze. He studied her with a curiosity that didn’t grope with disdain, but caressed with approval.

With respect.

This kind of appreciation was never given to women as dark and as large as she. Gratitude heated her face.

Gratitude and embarrassment. Her lavender toilet water couldn’t hide the fragrance of arousal. She shuddered with shame then glanced around. Had anyone else detected the odor? All the merrymakers seemed too caught up in the rhythmic fast fiddling and foot-stomping of Safe Haven’s seventh annual Juneteenth Revel to notice her discomfort.

In 1872 Texas who took note of a black woman who ain’t been asked to wed?

Yet Eban’s perusal said not only did he take note, but he liked what he saw.


19 comments to “Anna Taylor Sweringen/Michal Scott: Homespun Heroines and Other Women of Distinction (Contest)”

  1. Anna Taylor Sweringen
    · February 25th, 2024 at 9:03 am · Link

    As always, thanks for giving me space to share, Delilah.

  2. Debra Guyette
    · February 25th, 2024 at 9:30 am · Link

    There are some great blogs with women’s history as part of them.

  3. BN
    · February 25th, 2024 at 1:44 pm · Link

    Anna Taylor Sweringen

  4. Holly Schwartz
    · February 25th, 2024 at 1:48 pm · Link

    Wow! What an incredible story. Thanks for sharing this with us. Susie Black

  5. Mary McCoy
    · February 25th, 2024 at 2:05 pm · Link

    I have enjoyed reading Women’s History in America at this Smithsonian blog

  6. Anna Taylor Sweringen
    · February 25th, 2024 at 2:13 pm · Link

    I know Debra. Makes me want to spend all my time just reading them. Thanks for commenting.

  7. Anna Taylor Sweringen
    · February 25th, 2024 at 2:13 pm · Link

    Aww, shucks, bn. Thanks.

  8. Anna Taylor Sweringen
    · February 25th, 2024 at 2:13 pm · Link

    Ooo, thanks for sharing, Mary.

  9. Mary Preston
    · February 25th, 2024 at 5:41 pm · Link

    Yes, sharing is a great way to remember all the amazing women.

  10. flchen
    · February 25th, 2024 at 10:19 pm · Link

    I’m excited that you’ll be sharing what you’ve been bringing to our attention here with an even larger audience, Anna–that is fantastic! As for resources, I’m thankful for you, and often I’ll hear things on say, NPR, or run across them as I’m learning about other (usually) historical authors’ books.

  11. Anna Taylor Sweringen
    · February 26th, 2024 at 8:37 am · Link

    I really appreciate Women’s History Month where sharing about all women happens. Thanks for your comment Mary P.

  12. Anna Taylor Sweringen
    · February 26th, 2024 at 8:38 am · Link

    I find the bibliographies in the books of historical authors’ books a gold mine, too. Thanks for commenting, flchen.

  13. Amy Fendley
    · February 27th, 2024 at 7:52 pm · Link

    I would love to read that book. It might need to be republished so everyone can learn.

  14. Anna Taylor Sweringen
    · February 28th, 2024 at 2:04 pm · Link

    Hi Amy, I was able to buy my copy from the NYPL, so you can definitely purchase a copy. Thanks for commenting.

  15. Jean Norton
    · February 29th, 2024 at 7:09 am · Link

    Thank you for continuing to research and bring these historical women forward. Inspiring…as are your stories!

  16. Jennifer Beyer
    · March 4th, 2024 at 9:55 pm · Link

    I say this a lot but why aren’t these sorts of stories taught in schools? Students could gain so much from learning about the struggles and successes of people in the past.

  17. Anna Taylor Sweringen
    · March 7th, 2024 at 4:31 pm · Link

    Hi Jean, Thanks for stopping by and for the compliment.

  18. Anna Taylor Sweringen
    · March 7th, 2024 at 4:31 pm · Link

    It’s so true, Jennifer. My one consolation is that when I go looking for these women, someone has paved the way. Thanks for commenting.

  19. Delilah
    · March 10th, 2024 at 7:56 am · Link

    Thanks so much to Anna for the inspiring topic! Love having you anytime!

    The winner of the GC is…Mary McCoy!

Comments are closed.