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Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins, despite an impressive record of productivity and creativity as a novelist, playwright, short fiction writer, editor, actress, and singer, is an African-American woman writer who has essentially been consigned to the dustbins of American literary history. Though contemporary with Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Charles W. Chesnutt, and Paul Laurence Dunbar, Hopkins is only now beginning to receive the kind of critical attention that Harper has enjoyed for a slightly longer period and that Chesnutt and Dunbar have always had. Hopkins had work published in several genres, but her reputation today rests primarily upon Contending Forces: A Romance Illustrative of Negro Life North and South, the novel she published in 1900. (Introduction by Margaret)