Frances Ellen Watkins Harper was an influential African American writer, lecturer, and women's rights advocate who lived during the 19th century. Born free in Baltimore in 1825, Harper was orphaned at a young age and raised by her uncle, a minister who taught her to read and write. She went on to become one of the most important voices of her time, using her writing and speaking skills to advocate for the rights of women and African Americans.
Harper was a prolific writer, producing novels, poems, essays, and other works that focused on issues of social justice and equality. Her most famous work, "Iola Leroy," was a novel that explored the complexities of race, gender, and class in America. Harper was also a talented public speaker, and traveled the country giving lectures on issues ranging from women's rights to abolitionism.
As a women's rights advocate, Harper was particularly concerned with the plight of black women, who faced double discrimination on the basis of their race and gender. She argued that black women were essential to the fight for equality, and worked to create alliances between women's rights advocates and abolitionists. Harper was a founding member of the National Association of Colored Women, which worked to promote women's suffrage, education, and economic opportunities for African American women.
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper's life and work are a testament to the power of writing and activism in creating positive social change. Her advocacy for the rights of women and African Americans continues to inspire us today, and reminds us of the ongoing struggle for justice and equality. As we celebrate Women's History Month, let us honor the legacy of Frances Ellen Watkins Harper and all the women who have fought for a more just and equitable world.