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Francis Ellen Walker Harper 

2023 Women’s History Month

Francis Ellen Walker Harper

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper was born free and was a poet, fiction writer, journalist.

Harper was raised by her aunt and uncle because her mother died when she was three years old.

Until the age of 13, she attended the Academy for Negro Youth. The school was run by her uncle.

After graduating from the Academy, Harper, found domestic work in a Quaker household, where she had access to a wide range of literature.

Harper worked for two years in Ohio and Pennsylvania. She embarked on a career as a traveling speaker on the abolitionist circuit.

In addition, Harper helped slaves escape through the Underground Railroad. Plus, she often wrote for anti-slavery newspapers. Thus, she earned a reputation as the mother of African American journalism.