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Iola Leroy

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper


As the Civil War bears down on a small North Carolina town, a tight-knit community of enslaved men and women is preparing for the coming battle and the possibility of freedom. Into this ensemble cast of characters comes Iola Leroy, a young woman who grew up unaware of her African ancestry until she is lured back home under false pretenses and immediately enslaved. Amidst a backdrop of battlefield hospitals and clandestine prayer meetings, this quietly stouthearted novel is a story of community, integrity, and solidarity.

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper was already one of the most prominent African-American poets of the nineteenth century when—at age 67—she turned her focus to novels. Her most enduring work, Iola Leroy, was one of the first novels published by an African-American writer. Although the book was initially popular with readers, it soon fell out of print and was critically forgotten. In the 1970s, the book was rediscovered and reclaimed as a seminal contribution to African-American literature.

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A brief history of this ebook

  1. Update colophon/imprint boilerplate to new standards

  2. Fix language tag in half title page

  3. Harmonize public domain information and license across files

  4. Update boilerplate CSS to new standards

  5. Alphabetize CSS declarations

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