Unknown Tongues examines the social and economic factors of northern industrialization, social reform, and black nationalism, all of which undergirded black women’s political consciousness during the decades before the American Civil War. The linkages between black women’s roles in the “culture of resistance” in slave communities and their transformations in the urban market economy fueled the development of black women’s political consciousness. As community activists and then as abolitionists, black urban women organized and protested against slavery, racism, sexism, and its attendant ills. Driven by market forces of nascent capitalism, black women created broad- based protest responses to the white power structure. Unknown Tongues explores the material realities that underpinned black women’s political development as well as the transformative stages of their political consciousness and activity.