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Book Spotlight: Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments

Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Social Upheaval

By Saidiya Hartman CN ’90

American cities have long provided the backdrop for radical social change. In her most recent book, Saidiya Hartman reexamines the lives of Black women in Philadelphia and New York at the turn of the twentieth century. Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments is a social history that recounts the stories of women who defied societal norms—at times, even the law—to craft their own definitions of a free and full life.

“Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments” is a rich resurrection of a forgotten history, which is Hartman’s specialty,” says The New York Times. “Her rigor and restraint give her writing its distinctive electricity and tension.”


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