Contending Forces Critical Context
by Pauline Hopkins

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Critical Context

(Literary Essentials: African American Literature)

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Like Hopkins’s other works, most of which were published in Colored American Magazine between 1899 and 1904, Contending Forces had as its initial audience mainly African Americans, who praised her work highly. The president of the Colored Women’s Business Club in Chicago, for example, wrote of Contending Forces that “it is undoubtedly the book of the century.”

Hopkins was among the few nineteenth century African American writers to receive recognition in her lifetime. In her works, she realized the purpose that she stated clearly in the preface to Contending Forces: “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.”