Frances Harper Women's Rights Movement

1175 Words5 Pages
With words, Frances Harper fought for human liberty and justice. Her skills as a writer, political advocate, and abolitionist speaker, influenced the equality movement that affected all Americans during her time. In 1852, Harper moved to Philadelphia in the midst of political turmoil that eventually led to the Civil War. Philadelphia, the former capital and founding place of the United States, proved to be a fertile place for cultural and political activities. Remaining there until her death in 1911, Harper was able to experience and comment on the constantly changing status of African Americans throughout the nineteenth century. On September 24th, 1825, Harper was born in Baltimore, Maryland, a slave city. Despite being born in a slave city,…show more content…
As a result, we worked as a seamstress and a babysitter. After her uncle closed the school in 1850 and moved away, Harper (then, Watkins) also moved to Ohio, where she worked as the first woman at the new Union Seminary (Foster). In 1853 she moved to Philadelphia, where she lived with William Still and his family 2444 South 12th Street, the main household for the local Underground Railroad operation (Pennsylvania Historical Marker Search). During the majority of her life, Harper spent her time publishing poems and essays and travelling to lecture on antislavery and equality, growing immensely popular. Her writing contains a wide variety of subjects, including religion, women’s rights, abolition, and temperance. Frances Watkins married Fenton Harper, with whom she moved to Columbus, Ohio (Foster). After her husband’s death, she bought a house in South Philadelphia, where she lived at 1006 Bainbridge Street for the remainder of her life (Pennsylvania Historical Marker Search). All of her achievements while in Philadelphia concern advocacy for people…show more content…
By the time Harper was 25, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was passed, which greatly increased Northern involvement in slavery. Before that point, most Northerners took a position of apathy, but after this point, they could not ignore the issue. As a result, there was a lot of backlash, including the publishing of Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852), followed by John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry in 1859. When Abraham Lincoln was elected in 1860, the country was at its tipping point and South Carolina seceded shortly afterward, creating a domino effect until the Civil War started in 1861. After four years of war, the Emancipation Proclamation, and thousands of deaths on both sides, the Civil War was over which started a new period and system of race relations in America: Reconstruction. This period attempted to use military force to alleviate racial tensions in the U.S., but only resulted in more violence and backlash upon military removal after 1876. By the point of Harper’s death, racial equality was still far from existing in America, with Plessy v. Ferguson being passed in 1896, which proclaimed that “separate but equal facilities” are constitutional (National Park
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