From the introduction: This book was put together to reclaim, and to create heightened awareness about, individuals, contributions, and struggles that have made African American survival and progress possible. We cannot accurately comprehend either our hidden potential or the full range of problems that besiege us until we know about the successful struggles that generations of foremothers waged against virtually insurmountable obstacles. We can, and will, chart a coherent future and win essential opportunities with a clear understanding of the past in all its pain and glory. Here, in a single volume, is a sweeping panorama of black women's experience throughout history and across classes and continents. Containing over 30 crucial essays by the most influential and prominent scholars in the field, including Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, Linda Gordon, and Nell Irvin Painter, We Specialize in the Wholly Impossible is a comprehensive assessment of black women's lives. The book is divided into six sections: theory; Africa; the Caribbean and Canada; 18th century United States; 19th century United States; and 20th century United States. A remarkably diverse range of topics are covered, with chapters on such subjects as working class consciousness among Afro American women; the impact of slavery on family structure; black women missionaries in South Africa; slavery, sharecropping, and sexual inequality; black women during the American Revolution; imprisoned black women in the American West; women's welfare activism; SNCC and black women's activism; and property owning free African American women in the 19th century South.