As editor Smith asserts:

You can't characterize these women. They are certainly women who persevere, are inspirational and were inspired by something in their own lives. Some women of today may feel they are unable to do what they want because they don't have financial support or are not encouraged. They are bound to be inspired by so many women who have come from humble backgrounds and gone on to achieve so much.

It is evident that the editor and many of the contributors felt a personal identification with many of the women whom they chronicled in this volume. Through their meticulous efforts to set the record straight, the biographers of Notable Black American Women have breathed life into the many tireless but unsung heroines who have often been overlooked in traditional historical works. These biographical sketches offer a comprehensive portrait of the lives, history, and culture of African-American women in the United States.

Janet Sims-Wood, Ph.D. is Assistant Chief Librarian for Reference and Reader Services for Howard University's Moorland-Spingarn Research Center.

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August 1999