Iola Leroy, or Shadows Uplifted, Frances E. W. Harper’s best-known novel (1892), outlines a concise history of African-American education, beginning with the period just prior to the Civil War and ending in the midst of Reconstruction. Moving from generally illiterate slavery days through a cultural moment of enlightened, political conversazione among a free black intellectual elite, the text traces a sweeping arc over more than three decades of African-American life. As her narrative unfolds from South to North and back again, Harper alights briefl y on several important scenarios in black education, illuminating an array of fi gures whose spotty and arbitrary achievements in learning refl ect the struggles of many AfricanAmericans to elevate themselves during this period. In Tom Anderson and Robert Johnson, for example, Harper memorializes slaves who bravely and illegally taught themselves to read, or who, having been taught by white masters, spread literacy surreptitiously among their fellow bondsmen. In the education of Iola’s mother, Marie Leroy, by her owner (and future husband), Harper acknowledges slave masters who, however rarely, sent their slaves to Northern schools in preparation for freedom. In Iola and her brother, Harry, she shows how those masters sometimes passed their racially-mixed offspring as white, educating them at white schools with the intention of keeping from their children the pain of their “connection with the negro race” (71). On the other hand, in Reverend Carmicle and Lucille Delaney she also portrays darker-skinned blacks who attended school, even college, as blacks, and ultimately distinguished themselves as professionals and community leaders. Though her novel ends with the oft-quoted author’s note that “the race has not had very long to straighten its hands from the hoe . . . and to erect above the ruined auction-block and slave-pen institutions of learning,” still it anticipates a time beyond the scope of the book when “the negro’s rising brain” will collectively achieve the progress Harper charts in these individuals (212).