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Patricia Morton

Disfigured Images: The Historical Assault on Afro-American Women

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Morton's introduction presents an overview of her subject emphasizing the mythical, ingrained nature of the black woman's image in historiography as a natural and permanent slave. The succeeding chapters use historical and social science works as primary sources to explore such issues as the foundations of sexism-racism, the writing of W.E.B. DuBois, twentieth century notions of black women, current black and women's studies, new and old images of motherhood, and more. The conclusion investigates how and why recent American historiographical scholarship has banished the old myths by presenting a more accurate history of black women. This keenly perceptive and original study should find an influential place in both women's studies and black studies programs as well as in American history, American literature, and sociology departments. With its unusually complete panorama of the period covered it would be a unique and valuable addition to courses such as slavery, the American South, women in (North) American history, Afro-American history, race and sex in American literature and discourse, and the sociology of race.