Influences: Pauline Hopkins

Pauline Hopkins (1859-1930) was a prominent African-American novelist, journalist, playwright, historian, and editor. She is considered a pioneer in her use of the romantic novel to explore social and racial themes.  It is her final novel that makes her inclusion in this series mandatory.

Of One Blood: Or, The Hidden Self is the last of four novels written by Pauline Hopkins. She is considered by some to be the most prolific African-American woman writer and the most influential literary editor of the first decade of the 20th century, though she is lesser known than many literary figures of the Harlem Renaissance. Of One Blood: Or, The Hidden Self first appeared in serial form in The Colored American Magazine in the November and December 1902 and the January 1903 issues of the publication, during the four-year period in which Hopkins served as its editor.

Of One Blood: Or, The Hidden Self tells the story of Reuel Briggs, a medical student who does not care about being black or appreciating African history but finds himself in Ethiopia on an archaeological trip. His motive is to raid the country of lost treasures, which he does find. However, he discovers much more than he expected: the painful truth about blood, race, and the half of his history that was never told. Hopkins wrote the novel intending, in her own words, to “raise the stigma of degradation from [the Black] race.” The title, Of One Blood, refers to the biological kinship of all human beings.  Despite the lofty ambitions of the work, it is, at its base a great Lost Worlds/Lost Race novel with some eerie paranormal sections for good measure.

Must Reads:

Of One Blood

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