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Drusilla Dunjee Houston

When manhood is shackled into its place
Nature oft forces a courageous race
Of women, who with heroic spirit,
Stamp within unborn children the merit
Denied their fathers. For what man's disdain
Keeps from one generation, the next will gain.

          — From "Uncrowned Queen," Black Dispatch

Biography / Criticism

Drusilla Dunjee Houston was a multi-talented black American woman writer of the 19th and early 20th century. While her only known published work is Wonderful Ethiopians of the Ancient Cushite Empire, she was truly a prolific writer. In addition to this book, she wrote many others, several of which may be lost. Nonetheless, she was probably the only woman or man who wrote a multi-volume history of the ancient Cushites of Ethiopia. Some of her other works that were never published include Origin of Civilization, Origin of Aryans, Astounding Last African Empires, and a number of other volumes which she called the "Wonderful Ethiopians Series. " Although history was her first love, Houston was also a prolific journalist writing editorials for the Oklahoma Black Dispatch, a small press owned by her brother, for at least three decades.

While both her name and that of her book fell into literary obscurity, Houston was a prolific writer throughout her life. She was a newspaper journalist, poet, accomplished musician, playwright, educator, community activist and most of all, an historian. Houston also found time to work on building Christian schools for women and girls in Oklahoma, building libraries, managing her own family, and extensively involving herself with many volunteer organizations of the day.

Houston made an outstanding contribution to education, particularly in building Christian churches. Although she is rarely if ever mentioned in the history of public education in Oklahoma, Houston began two schools: the first in McAlester, Oklahoma shortly after she was married, and later the Oklahoma Training Schools for Girls in Sapulpa, Oklahoma. The Training School was started in January 1917.

Houston's writing also includes the work she accomplished while serving as Contributing Editor to the Oklahoma Black Dispatch. Over the course of three decades, Houston contributed thousands of articles on every aspect of black life in America. Still, she remained obscure and forgotten.

Drisilla Dunjee Houston spent a lifetime writing and teaching about the ancient history of Africans, including this same information in the curriculum of her schools. She was indeed an extraordinary woman of her time. This contribution to this site is designed to rescue her legacy and to place her squarely in black American historical and literary traditions.

Selected Bibliography

Works by the Author

Works about the Author

As of yet, there are no works that have been published about Drusilla Dunjee Houston. However, Dr. Peggy Brooks-Bertram, who researched and submitted this page, has completed and submitted for publication a book about Houston's work, Wonderful Ethiopians of the Ancient Cushite Empires. The purpose of Dr. Brooks-Bertram's work is to complete Houston's book, which lacked a bibliography, index, photographs, and maps. The tentative title of Dr. Brooks-Bertram's work is Rescuing Drusilla: the Wonderful Ethiopians of the Ancient Cushite Empire.

Contributor

This page was researched and submitted by Dr. Peggy Ann Brooks-Bertram on 12/9/99