Maria Stewart is believed by many to have been the first American woman of any race to give public political speeches. In Word, Like Fire, Valerie C. Cooper argues that the religious, political, and social threads of Maria Stewart's thought are tightly interwoven, such that focusing narrowly on any one aspect would be to misunderstand her rhetoric. Cooper demonstrates how a certain kind of biblical interpretation can be a Rosetta Stone for understanding various areas of African American life and thought that still resonate today.

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