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Discovering Frances Harper

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – She wrote a best seller when she lived on Bainbridge Street in Philadelphia. She refused to give up her seat or ride in the “colored” section of a segregated trolley car 100 years before Rosa Parks.

A poet, novelist, political activist and vice president of the newly formed National Association of Colored Women in 1896… yet her name cannot be found in most history books.

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper will now be known throughout the region during the celebration of Black History Month through the efforts of The Moonstone Arts Center, who in concert with many other organizations is presenting 12 programs– poetry, lectures, a play, trainings for teachers as well as an interactive trunk presentation making the importance of Harper’s bravery and determination come to life.

The week-long program will end on February 27th with a memorial at Harper’s gravesite in nearby Collingdale ending with the words of a poem she wrote in 1858 …

“All my yearning spirit craves, Is to bury me not in the land of slaves.”

For information, visit

Reported By Dr. Marciene Mattleman, KYW Newsradio

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