"Martha Jones is the political historian of African American women. And this book is the commanding history of the remarkable struggle of African American women for political power. The more power they accumulated, the more equality they wrought. All Americans would be better off learning this history and grasping just how much we owe equality's vanguard."—Ibram X. Kendi, National Book Award-winning author of Stamped from the Beginning and How to Be an Antiracist
"In her inspiring new book, Vanguard, renowned historian Martha S. Jones gives us a sweeping narrative for our times, grounded in the multi-generational struggle of black women for a freedom and equality that would not only fulfill their rights but galvanize a broader, redemptive movement for human rights everywhere. Through the carefully interwoven stories of famous and forgotten African American women, together representing two hundred years of history, Jones shows how this core of our society -- so key to winning elections today -- also gave us 'the nation's original feminists and antiracists.' From organizers and institution builders to preachers and writers, journalists and activists, black women found ways to rise up through the twin cracks of race and sex discrimination to elevate democracy as a whole. At a moment when that very democracy is under assault, Vanguard reminds us to look for hope in those most denied it."—Henry Louis Gates Jr.
"Bold, ambitious, and beautifully crafted, Vanguard represents more than two hundred years of Black women's political history. From Jarena Lee to Stacey Abrams, Martha S. Jones reminds her readers that Black women stand as America's original feminists -- women who continue to remind America that it must make good on its promises."—Erica Armstrong Dunbar, author of Never Caught and She Came to Slay
"You cannot tell the history of modern democracy without the history of Black women, and vibrating through Martha Jones's prose, argument, and evidence is analysis that takes Black women seriously. Vanguard brilliantly lays bare how a full accounting of black women as powerful political actors is both past and prologue. Martha Jones has given us a gift we do not deserve. In that way she is as bold and necessary to our understanding of ourselves as the women in this important work."—Tressie McMillan Cottom, author of Thick: And Other Essays