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Two Texts on Children and Christian Education

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 October 2020


The known biography of the early african american writer and lecturer Maria W. Stewart (1803–79) is as brief as it is fascinating. After the childhood loss of her parents, she married James W. Stewart, a Boston shipping agent, in 1826. The Stewarts had close ties with the black radical David Walker, whose fiery 1829 Appeal kindled fears of slave rebellion and was in its third edition when Walker died under suspicious circumstances in August 1830. After James Stewart's own untimely death, in December 1829, his executors swindled Maria Stewart out of her inheritance, and she turned to the church and to writing and lecturing. Revising Walker's combination of jeremiad and Enlightenment-influenced political argument to reflect her own sense of faith, racism and racial uplift, and gender politics, Stewart became one of the first American women to address “promiscuous” audiences. She published a series of probing meditations as well as a set of her lectures—texts still startling for their power and bluntness—in pamphlets and, later, as Productions of Mrs, Maria Stewart (1835).

Little-Known Documents
Copyright © 2008 by The Modern Language Association of America

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