Born in the 1880s in Jefferson, Texas, Lillian B. Jones Horace grew up in Fort Worth and dreamed of being a college-educated teacher, a goal she achieved. But life was hard for her and other blacks living and working in the Jim Crow South. Her struggles convinced her that education, particularly that involving the printed word, was the key to black liberation.
In 1916, before Marcus Garvey gained fame for advocating black economic empowerment and a repatriation movement, Horace wrote a back-to-Africa novel, Five Generations Hence, the earliest published novel on record by a black woman from Texas and the earliest known utopian novel by any African American woman. She also wrote a biography of Lacey Kirk Williams, a renowned president of the National Baptist Convention; another novel, Angie Brown, that was never published; and a host of plays that her students at I. M. Terrell High School performed. Five Generations Hence languished after its initial publication. Along with Horace’s diary, the unpublished novel, and the Williams biography, the book was consigned to a collection owned by the Tarrant County Black Historical and Genealogical Society and housed at the Fort Worth Public Library. There, scholar and author Karen Kossie-Chernyshev rediscovered Horace’s work in the course of her efforts to track down and document a literary tradition that has been largely ignored by both the scholarly community and general readers. In this book, the full text of Horace’s Five Generations Hence, annotated and contextualized by Kossie-Chernyshev, is once again presented for examination by scholars and interested readers.In 2009 Kossie-Chernyshev invited nine scholars to a conference at Texas Southern University to give Horace’s works a comprehensive interdisciplinary examination. Subsequent work on those papers resulted in the studies that form the second half of this book.
What Readers Are Saying:
“Dr. Kossie-Chernyshev is to be congratulated for her tenacity in searching for archives of African American women in Texas and for having discovered Horace’s trove. I feel certain that this will make an important contribution to the history of Texas women writers and to our understanding of African American women’s fiction.”—Nancy Baker Jones, Ruthe Winegarten Foundation for Texas Women’s History
“Professor Karen Kossie-Chernyshev has done a very fine job in identification of the manuscript, explication of it, and designation of other literary scholars and historians to place the writings of Lillian Jones Horace in perspective and assist in comprehension of the significance of the Texas African American female novelist. The novel has literary and historical value.”—Maceo Crenshaw Dailey Jr., associate professor, Department of History and Director of African American Studies, University of Texas in El Paso
"The novel provides an excellent snapshot of African American elites one hundred years ago. Kossie-Chernyshev's work represents a significant contribution to the understanding of black feminism and the long civil rights movement in Texas." -- Southwestern Historical Quarterly