Little is known about the life of poet Mary Weston Fordham. A free person of color from a relatively affluent family, she bravely ran her own school during the Civil War and was hired in 1865 as a teacher by the American Missionary Association. She taught during Reconstruction at the Saxon School in Charleston, South Carolina. Her poetry contains references to family and to the deaths of several children in infancy and displays an ease with meter and rhyme in lyrical explorations of historical, spiritual, and domestic themes.
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"Sure, I'd had to recite Paul Revere's Ride, or what have you, but I didn't know how expansive and powerful poetry actually was. I am a better thinker, a better listener, a better performer, a better entertainer, a better and wiser and more helpful human being because of POL."