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African American Women Writers

Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins (1859-1930), African American playwright, novelist, journalist and editor, was born in 1859 in Portland, Maine. The daughter of Northrup and Sarah Allen Hopkins, she was raised in Boston, Massachusetts, and educated in public schools. Hopkins was 15 years old and a student at Girls High School when she first gained recognition for her writing, winning first prize in the William Wells Brown Contest, sponsored by the Congregational Publishing Society, for her essay 'Evils of Intemperance and Their Remedy'. The precocious Hopkins went on to write a musical drama, Aristocracy (1877), and a five-act play, Winona (1878), before she realised her first stage success with Slaves Escape; or The Underground Railroad, a musical drama in four acts about the quest of slaves to reach the North and establish their freedom. Produced by the Hopkins' Colored Troubadours, with her parents and herself in the cast, the play premiered at Boston's Oakland Gardens on 5 July 1880. Upon revising the play, Hopkins retitled it Peculiar Sam; or The Underground Railroad, after its central character. Favourably reviewed in its day, the work is now credited as one of the first musical dramas in the history of African American theatre.

Genre: Drama

More about Pauline Hopkins at ProQuest One Literature

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About Pauline Hopkins