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Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

Unidentified Artist1895

Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery

Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery
Washington, D.C., United States

The writer and suffragist Frances Ellen Watkins Harper addressed both racism and women’s oppression. She observed of her fellow suffragists: “I do not believe that giving the woman the ballot is immediately going to cure all the ills of life. I do not believe that white women are dew-drops just exhaled from the skies. I think that like men they may be divided into three classes, the good, the bad, and the indifferent.” Her statement reinforced Frederick Douglass’s argument that voting rights for black men should be prioritized because they represented “a question of life and death.”

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