Contending Forces: A Romance Illustrative of Negro Life North and South
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About the Author
Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins (1859-1930) was an African American novelist, playwright, and historian. Born in Portland, Maine, Hopkins was raised in Boston by her mother and adopted father. Supported in her academic pursuits from a young age, Hopkins excelled at Girls High School, where she won a local competition for her essay on the raising of children. In 1877, she began her career as a dramatist with a production in Saratoga, which encouraged her to write a musical entitled Slaves' Escape; or, The Underground Railroad (1880). In 1900, she published "Talma Gordon," now considered the first mystery story written by an African American author. Having established herself as a professional writer, she published three serial novels in the periodical The Colored American Magazine, including Hagar's Daughter: A Story of Southern Caste Prejudice (1901-1902) and Winona: A Tale of Negro Life in the South and Southwest (1902-1903). Often compared to her contemporaries Charles Chestnutt and Paul Laurence Dunbar, Hopkins made a name for herself as a successful and ambitious author who advocated for the rights of African Americans at a time of intense violence and widespread oppression.