by Barbara Ransby
An illuminating biography of the bold, principled, and fiercely independent woman who defied convention to make her own mark on the world.
Eslanda "Essie" Cardozo Goode Robeson lived a colorful and amazing life. Her career and commitments took her many places: colonial Africa in 1936, the front lines of the Spanish Civil War, the founding meeting of the United Nations, Nazi-occupied Berlin, Stalin's Russia, and China two months after Mao's revolution. She was a woman of unusual accomplishment--an anthropologist, a prolific journalist, a tireless advocate of women's rights, an outspoken anti-colonial and antiracist activist, and an internationally sought-after speaker. Yet historians for the most part have confined Essie to the role of Mrs. Paul Robeson, a wife hidden in the large shadow cast by her famous husband. In this masterful book, biographer Barbara Ransby refocuses attention on Essie, one of the most important and fascinating Black women of the twentieth century.
"In this incredibly powerful, vital work, Ransby has rescued Eslanda Robeson from the shadows of her famous husband and establishes her as one of the most important activists, scholars, critics and theorists to connect anticolonialism with the black freedom movement in the U.S." -- Robin D.G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams
"Barbara Ransby has produced an insightful, fascinating, and significant biography. Eslanda Robeson has too long stood in the shadow of her remarkable husband, but as Ransby shows she was an important writer and political activist in her own right, whose life illuminates the international dimensions of the 20th-century black freedom movement." -- Eric Foner, Columbia University
About the Author:
Barbara Ransby is professor in the departments of African American Studies, Gender and Women Studies, and History, and director of the Gender and Women Studies Program, University of Illinois, Chicago. She is author of the award-winning Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement, and a respected scholar-activist for many years.