Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

1825–1911
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

Born in Baltimore, poet, fiction writer, journalist, and activist Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, was the only child of free African American parents. She became a traveling speaker on the abolitionist circuit and she also helped slaves escape through Underground Railroad and wrote frequently for anti-slavery newspapers, earning her reputation as the mother of African-American journalism. During Reconstruction, Harper was an activist for civil rights, women's rights, and educational opportunity for all. She was superintendent of the Women's Christian Temperance Union, co-founder and vice-president of the National Association of Colored Women, and a member of the American Women's Suffrage Association. Harper was also the director of the American Association of Colored Youth.

What People are Saying

"I learned that I had the ability to capture the attention of an audience and evoke emotion from them. When I recited my first poem in 9th grade for a mock POL class competition, I was incredibly shy and barely audible. But eventually I grew to love sharing the emotions poems gave me."
Chiara Raimondo
2016 NY POL Champion