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Iola Leroy was originally published in 1892, during a time of black disenfranchisement, lynching, and Jim Crow laws. It is the story of a “refined mulatto” raised to believe she’s white until she and her mother are sold into slavery. Iola becomes an outspoken advocate for her people and a critic of race-mixing. Her story offers an important portrait of black life during the Civil War and Reconstruction.