written by Akosua Lowery
“We want more soul, a higher cultivation of all spiritual faculties. We need more unselfishness, earnestness, and integrity. We need men and women whose hearts are the homes of high and lofty enthusiasm and a noble devotion to the cause of emancipation, who are ready and willing to lay time, talent, and money on the altar of universal freedom.” – Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
On this day, the “Bronze Muse” died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper (September 24, 1825 – February 22, 1911) was an African-American abolitionist, poet and author. Born free in Baltimore, Maryland, she had a long and prolific career, publishing her first book of poetry at age 20 and her first novel, the widely praised Iola Leroy, at age 67.
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper wrote more than a dozen books, including Poems on Miscellaneous Subjects (1854); Moses, a Story of the Nile (1869); and Sketches of Southern Life (1872). Harper was the most famous female poet of her day and the most famous African-American poet of the 19th century. Also a well-known orator, she spoke frequently in public (sometimes twice in one day), promoting equal rights for women and African-Americans. She was a worker for the Underground Railroad, and in 1896 she helped establish the National Association of Colored Women.