Frances Harper was born in Baltimore on 24th September, 1825. Her mother died three years later and she was looked after by relatives. Frances was educated at a school run by her uncle, Rev. William Watkins until the age of thirteen when she found work as a seamstress.
Harper wrote poetry and her first volume of verse, Forest Leaves, was published in 1845. The book was extremely popular and over the next few years went through 20 editions.
In 1850 Harper obtained employment as a teacher in Columbus, Ohio, but in 1853 became a travelling lecturer for the American Anti-Slavery Society. She was also a strong supporter of prohibition and woman's suffrage. She often read her poetry at these public meetings, including the extremely popular Bury Me in a Free Land.
Other volumes of poetry published by Harper include Poems on Miscellaneous Subjects (1854), Moses: A Story of the Nile (1869) and Sketches of Southern Life (1872). Harper was a strong supporter of women's suffrage and was a member of the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA).
Her first novel, Iloa Leroy, a story about a rescued black slave, appeared in 1892. This was followed by Minnie's Sacrifice, Sowing and Reaping and Trial and Triumph. Frances Harper died on 22nd February, 1911.
Slavery in the United States (£1.29)