Frances Harper

Sep 24, 1825 - Feb 22, 1911

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper was an American abolitionist, suffragist, poet, teacher, public speaker, and writer. Beginning in 1845, she was one of the first African-American women to be published in the United States.
Born free in Baltimore, Maryland, Harper had a long and prolific career, publishing her first book of poetry at the age of 20. At 67, she published her widely praised novel Iola Leroy, placing her among the first Black women to publish a novel.
As a young woman in 1850, she taught domestic science at Union Seminary in Columbus, Ohio, a school affiliated with the AME Church. In 1851, while living with the family of William Still, a clerk at the Pennsylvania Abolition Society who helped refugee slaves make their way along the Underground Railroad, Harper started to write anti-slavery literature. After joining the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1853, Harper began her career as a public speaker and political activist.
Harper also had a successful literary career. Her collection Poems on Miscellaneous Subjects was a commercial success, making her the most popular African-American poet before Paul Laurence Dunbar.
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