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2022 Winning Essay by Natalia Jackson

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Frances EW Harper

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper was a big part of women’s history. She was born on September 24, 1825 to free African American parents in Baltimore, Maryland.  At the age of 3 her parents died and she was adopted by her aunt and uncle, Henrietta and William Watkins.  She was a free African American Female as well as a part of the women’s rights movement.  She was a co-founder of the NACWC, National association of Colored Women’s Club, along with Harriett Tubman, Ida B. Wells-Barnett and Mary Church Terrell.  At the age of 26 she moved to Wilberforce, Ohio where she taught domestic science for a year.  She was the first female instructor at Union Seminary, a school for free African Americans.  She died at the age of 85 on February 22, 1911.

Frances had many jobs in her life. At age 13 she got her first job as a seamstress and a nursemaid.  Between the ages of 20 and 21 became an author/poet.  In 1850, she published her first book called “Forest Leaves”.  It was about the success of the antebellum black fight for literacy and education.  When she was 26, she became a domestic science teacher.  She was also a lecturer from 1854-1862.  She traveled all across the United States and Canada.  Her first speech was titled “The Elevation and Education of our People”.

A part of being an author/poet she wrote short stories.  Those stories were mostly about racism, feminism and classism.  The topics of her poems were similar to her short stories.  The topics included Christianity, slavery and women.  She was a free African American female who was also a women’s rights activist.  She fought for things such as women’s rights and the right for women to vote.  She was also a part of the women’s rights movement.

As a free African American female, Frances inspired so many people of all races.  She gave confidence to many people, especially the African American community, because she took some of the first steps for them.  She taught them to be brave and that they could do anything.  She taught them to no mater what color you are you can write stories or publish poems about anything.  She gave women of all races confidence to take a stand and try anything they want to.  Frances Ellen Watkins Harper had a fulfilling life and did many thins no one else may have been able to do or accomplish.

She should be recognized in the city of Victorville because she could give inspiration to women and kids of all ages.  Because of her contributions, women are able to have more freedom.

Submitted November 9, 2022