This landmark work first published 20 years ago helped establish the field of African-American womanist theology. It is widely regarded as a classic text in the field. Drawing on the biblical figure of Hagar mother of Ishmael, cast into the desert by Abraham and Sarah, but protected by God Williams finds a proptype for the struggle of African-American women. African slave, homeless exile, surrogate mother, Hagar s story provides an image of survival and defiance appropriate to black women today. Exploring the themes implicit in Hagar s story poverty and slavery, ethnicity and sexual exploitation, exile and encounter with God Williams traces parallels in the history of African-American women from slavery to the present day. A new womanist theology emerges from this shared experience, from the interplay of oppressions on account of race, sex and class. Sisters in the Wilderness offers a telling critique of theologies that promote liberation but ignore women of color. This is a book that defined a new theological project and charted a path that others continue to explore.