Frances Harper

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper (September 24, 1825 – February 22, 1911) was an African-American abolitionist, suffragist, poet, teacher, public speaker, and writer. The topics she wrote and spoke about include: "enslavement and abolitionism, human rights and dignity, women's rights and equality, racial and social justice, lynching and mob violence, voting rights, moral character, racial self-help and uplift, and multiracial cooperation for common good." She was active in social reform and was a member of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, which advocated the federal government taking a role in progressive reform. She is considered "the mother of African-American journalism."

Born free in Baltimore, Maryland, she had a long and prolific career, publishing her first book of poetry at the age of 20, making her one of the first African-American published writers. At 67, she wrote her widely praised novel ''Iola Leroy'' (1892). In 1850, she became the first woman to teach sewing at the Union Seminary. In 1851, alongside William Still, chairman of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society, she helped escaped slaves along the Underground Railroad on their way to Canada. She began her career as a public speaker and political activist after joining the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1853.

''Poems on Miscellaneous Subjects'' (1854) became her biggest commercial success. Her short story "Two Offers" was published in the ''Anglo-African'' in 1859, making literary history by being the first short story published by a black woman.

Harper founded, supported and held high office in several national progressive organizations. In 1883 she became superintendent of the Colored Section of the Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Women's Christian Temperance Union. In 1894 she helped found the National Association of Colored Women and served as its vice president.

Harper died aged 85 on February 22, 1911, nine years before women gained the right to vote. Provided by Wikipedia
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