This Day in History: 1875-04-14

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, an abolitionist, suffragist, poet, teacher, public speaker, and writer (she was one of the first African American women to be published in the United States), delivered an address in Philadelphia at the Centennial Anniversary of the nation’s oldest abolitionist society, the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery outlining the work yet to be done in the cause of African American freedom. Harper publicized the violence and intimidation in the South directed at the freedpeople. She argued African Americans must organize to complete the work of Reconstruction rather than relying on political parties or organizations, and that Black women must play an important role in these crucial efforts. Read her address.