chapter
Chesnut, Mary
Pages 7

Abolitionist, suffragist, poet, and author Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, known as "The Bronze Muse", became America's first successful black female journalist and the most popular black poet of her time. With four published novels in addition to several volumes of poetry, Harper was one of the most prolific and widely read African American writers of the nineteenth century. In 1851, Watkins left Baltimore to accept a job teaching needlework at Union Seminary in Wilberforce, Ohio, where she was the first female faculty member. Two years later, unable to return to Maryland because of laws barring the entry of free blacks into the state, she moved to Philadelphia, joined the American Anti-Slavery Society, and maintained a safe house for fugitive slaves on the Underground Railroad, while continuing to work on her poetry and essays. From 1854 to 1860, she traveled throughout the East and Midwest as a lecturer on abolition, education for freedmen, and female equality.