Frances Ellen Watkins Harper was born on September 24, 1825, in Baltimore, Maryland, and raised by her aunt and uncle. A poet, novelist, and journalist, she was also a prominent abolitionist and temperance and women's suffrage activist. She traveled to multiple states to lecture and give speeches about these issues.
In May 1866, she delivered the speech, "We Are All Bound Up Together" at the National Women's Rights Convention in New York, sharing the stage with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. "You white women speak here of rights," she said. "I speak of wrongs."
With Margaret Murray Washington, the wife of Booker T. Washington, Harriet Tubman, and other prominent African American women, she helped found the National Association of Colored Women and served as its vice president in 1897.
She authored numerous books, including the poetry collections Forest Leaves (1845) and Poems on Miscellaneous Subjects (Merrihew & Thompson, 1854), the novel Iola Leroy, or Shadows Uplifted (Garrigues Brothers,1892)), and several short stories. Before marrying Fenton Harper, a widower, with whom she had a daughter, she worked at Union Seminary in Ohio, where she taught sewing.
She died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on February 22, 1911.