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Book Title: Iola Leroy: Shadows Uplifted|
The author of the book: Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
The size of the: 468 KB
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Date of issue: December 2nd 2006
ISBN 13: 9781426460289
Format files: PDF
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Reader ratings: 7.1
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Being very desirous that one of the race so long distinguished in the cause of freedom for her intellectual worth as Mrs. Harper has had the honor of being should not at this late date in life make a blunder which might detract from her own good name I naturally proposed to await developments before deciding too quickly in favor of giving encouragement to her contemplated effort.
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Read information about the authorBorn to free parents in Baltimore, Maryland. After her mother died when she was three years old in 1828, Watkins was orphaned. She was raised by her aunt and uncle. She was educated at the Academy for Negro Youth, a school run by her uncle Rev. William Watkins, who was a civil rights activist. He was a major influence on her life and work. At fourteen, she found work as a seamstress.
Frances Watkins had her first volume of verse, Forest Leaves, published in 1845 (it has been lost). Her second book, Poems on Miscellaneous Subjects, published in 1854, was extremely popular. Over the next few years, it was reprinted in 20 editions. Many African American women's service clubs named themselves in her honor, and across the nation, in cities such as St. Louis, St. Paul, and Pittsburgh, F. E. W. Harper Leagues and Frances E. Harper Women's Christian Temperance Unions thrived well into the twentieth century.
In 1850, Watkins moved to Ohio, where she worked as the first woman teacher at Union Seminary, established by the Ohio Conference of the AME Church. (Union closed in 1863 when the AME Church diverted its funds to purchase Wilberforce University.) The school in Wilberforce was run by the Rev. John Brown (not the same as the abolitionist). In 1853, Watkins joined the American Anti-Slavery Society and became a traveling lecturer for the group. In 1854, Watkins delivered her first anti-slavery speech on “Education and the Elevation of Colored Race”. The success of this speech resulted a two-year lecture tour in Maine for the Anti-Slavery Society. She traveled, lecturing throughout the East and Midwest from 1856 to 1860. In 1859, her story “The Two Offers” was published in the Anglo-African Magazine, a great accomplishment as it became the first short story to ever be published by an African American.
In 1860, she married Fenton Harper, a widower with three children. They had a daughter together in 1862. For a time Frances withdrew from the lecture circuit. However, after her husband Fenton died in 1864, Watkins returned to her travels and lecturing.
Frances Harper was a strong supporter of prohibition and woman's suffrage. She was also active in the Unitarian Church, which supported abolition. She often would read her poetry at the public meetings, including the extremely popular Bury Me in a Free Land. She was connected with national leaders in suffrage, and in 1866 gave a moving speech before the National Women's Rights Convention, demanding equal rights for all, including black women. Watkins was very involved in black organizations. From 1883 to 1890, she helped organize activities for the National Woman’s Christian temperance Union.
She also continued with her writing and continued to publish poetry. In 1892 she published Iola Leroy, or Shadows Uplifted. One of the first novels by an African-American woman, it sold well and was reviewed widely.
Harper continued with her political activism. She helped organize the National Association of Colored Women in 1896, and was later elected vice president in 1897.
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