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Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

(24 September 1825 – 22 February 1911 / Baltimore, Maryland)

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
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Frances Ellen Watkins Harper was an African American abolitionist and poet. Born free in Baltimore, Maryland, she had a long and prolific career, publishing her first book of poetry at twenty and her first novel, the widely praised Iola Leroy, at age 67.

Early Life and Education

Frances Ellen Watkins was born 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 maternal 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, ... more »

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