Sarah E. Farro

Victorian-era, middle-class black women who loved to read and write didn’t have many role models.

After the rediscovery of a 19th-century novel, a view of black female writers is transformed


While looking through old British newspapers, I was astonished to read an 1893 announcement in The Daily Telegraph proclaiming Sarah E. Farro to be “the first negro novelist” with the publication of her novel “True Love.” I wondered: who was this woman? The Daily Telegraph didn’t get it exactly right: We know now that Farro wasn’t the first African-American novelist. But after doing more research, I soon realized that Farro had made her mark writing about white people — and that this may also be the reason her work was forgotten.