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Radical Friend

Amy Kirby Post and Her Activist Worlds

By Nancy A. Hewitt

440 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 11 halftones, 1 map, notes, bibl., index

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-4032-7
    Published: April 2018
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-4033-4
    Published: March 2018

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Awards & distinctions

2018 James Bradford Best Biography Prize, Society for Historians of the Early American Republic

A pillar of radical activism in nineteenth-century America, Amy Kirby Post (1802@–89) participated in a wide range of movements and labored tirelessly to orchestrate ties between issues, causes, and activists. A conductor on the Underground Railroad, co-organizer of the 1848 Rochester Woman’s Rights Convention, and a key figure in progressive Quaker, antislavery, feminist, and spiritualist communities, Post sustained movements locally, regionally, and nationally over many decades. But more than simply telling the story of her role as a local leader or a bridge between local and national arenas of activism, Nancy A. Hewitt argues that Post’s radical vision offers a critical perspective on current conceptualizations of social activism in the nineteenth century.

While some individual radicals in this period have received contemporary attention—most notably William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, and Lucretia Mott (all of whom were friends of Post)—the existence of an extensive network of radical activists bound together across eight decades by ties of family, friendship, and faith has been largely ignored. In this in-depth biography of Post, Hewitt demonstrates a vibrant radical tradition of social justice that sought to transform the nation.

About the Author

Nancy A. Hewitt is Distinguished Professor Emerita of History and Women's Studies at Rutgers University.
For more information about Nancy A. Hewitt, visit the Author Page.

Reviews

"An inspirational, academic, and historical biography that presents a new role model for intersectional social justice movements."--Library Journal

“Hewitt’s research for Radical Friend was deep, broad, and complex. . . . [It] carefully weaves [Amy] Post’s Quaker/Friends roots in with her increasing involvement in reform movements. . . . Essential.”--Resources for Gender and Women’s Studies

Radical Friend is a pleasure to read, offering a significant reinterpretation of nineteenth-century American reform as egalitarian, interracial, and defiant of social, political, and religious hierarchies.”--Carol Faulkner, Syracuse University

“In this biography of a critical but overlooked activist, Hewitt takes us into the lived experiences of the antebellum reform and abolitionist movements. The result is an amazingly satisfying exploration of the fabric and central tendencies of the nineteenth-century quest for a more perfect America.”--John Brooke, Ohio State University