Princess of the Hither Isles by Adele Logan Alexander
Author of Ambiguous Lives and Homelands and Waterways, Adele Logan Alexander taught for eighteen years at George Washington University. Princess of the Hither Isles (Yale, $30) draws on her extensive scholarship as well as on her own family history to tell the story of Adella Hunt Logan (1863-1915), a pioneering activist for social justice—and Alexander’s grandmother. Born to a white father and free woman of color in a Georgia family whose lineage also included Cherokees, Logan started teaching at age sixteen, before getting a scholarship to Atlanta University; by 1883, she was
on the faculty of the Tuskegee Institute, where she became the institution’s first woman librarian and formed a close friendship with Booker T. Washington. An advocate for equal education and universal suffrage, she wrote for The Crisis and The Colored American and was part of a circle of reformers that included Susan B. Anthony, Frederick Douglass, and W. E. B. Du Bois. While her efforts ultimately led to the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920, Logan suffered a breakdown and, just after Washington’s death in 1915, committed suicide. Alexander recounts her life with vivid historical insight and keen psychological acuity, doing justice to one of the many courageous women of color too often omitted from accounts of the suffrage movement.