Abolitionist Frances E.W. Harper


                                        Frances E. W. Harper (1825-1911) nee Watkins

Was a prominent African-African female social reformer and writer of 19th century America. Watkins became an abolitionist orator after the passage of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law.  

Watkins entered the anti-slavery lecture circuit, and she published the first edition of her bestseller, Poems on Miscellaneous Subjects in 1854. Watkins wove anti-slavery pieces such as The Slave Mother, Eliza Harris, The Slave Auction, A Mother's Heroism, and The Fugitive's Wife into a broader

religious and moral framework.

Watkins also published numerous abolitionist poems, speeches, essays and editorials - such as Be Active (1856), Could We Trace the Record of Every Human Heart (1857), Miss Watkins and the Constitution (1859), and Our Greatest Want (1859). Known by this time as the "bronze muse," Harper also concerned herself with the broad reconstruction of the nation after the Civil War. She championed the rights of blacks and women in her work with the women's rights movement. Harper died in 1911 and is buried in an historic African American cemetery outside of Philadelphia.

Inducted in 2018

Artwork by

                                    National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum

                                         5255 Pleasant Valley Road        P.O. Box 55 Peterboro NY 13134



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