Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper Poems

Make me a grave where'er you will,
In a lowly plain, or a lofty hill;
Make it among earth's humblest graves,
But not in a land where men are slaves.
...

.
I remember, well remember,
.
That dark and dreadful day,
...

Do you see this grain of sand
Lying loosely in my hand?
Do you know to me it brought
Just a simple loving thought?
...

Do you blame me that I loved him?
If when standing all alone
I cried for bread a careless world
...

Two little children sit by my side,
I call them Lily and Daffodil;
I gaze on them with a mother's pride,
One is Edna, the other is Will.
...

"The dying words of Goethe."


"Light! more light! the shadows deepen,
...

Thank God for little children,
Bright flowers by earth's wayside,
The dancing, joyous lifeboats
Upon life's stormy tide.
...

Sharers of a common country,
They had met in deadly strife;
Men who should have been as brothers
Madly sought each other's life.
...

God bless our native land,
Land of the newly free,
Oh may she ever stand
For truth and liberty.
...

'Twas a fearful night -- the tempest raved
With loud and wrathful pride,
The storm-king harnessed his lightning steeds,
And rode on the raging tide.
...

Heard you that shriek? It rose
So wildly on the air,
It seemed as if a burden'd heart
Was breaking in despair.
...

Of course, I don't know very much
About these politics,
But I think that some who run 'em,
Do mighty ugly tricks.
...

Very soon the Yankee teachers
Came down and set up school;
But, oh! how the Rebs did hate it, -
It was agin' their rule.
...

I had a dream, a varied dream:
Before my ravished sight
The city of my Lord arose,
With all its love and light.
...

Yes, Ethiopia yet shall stretch
Her bleeding hands abroad;
Her cry of agony shall reach
The burning throne of God.
...

FIRST VOICE.

I thirst, but earth cannot allay
The fever coursing through my veins,
...

Uncle Jacob often told us,
Since freedom blessed our race
We ought all to come together
And build a meeting place.
...

He stood before the sons of Heth,
And bowed his sorrowing head;
"I've come," he said, "to buy a place
Where I may lay my dead.
...

They heard the South wind sighing
A murmur of the rain;
And they knew that Earth was longing
...

Come to me when I'm dying;
Gaze on my wasted form,
Tired with so long defying
...

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper Biography

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper was an African American abolitionist and poet. Born free in Baltimore, Maryland, she had a long and prolific career, publishing her first book of poetry at twenty and her first novel, the widely praised Iola Leroy, at age 67. Early Life and Education Frances Ellen Watkins was born to free parents in Baltimore, Maryland. After her mother died when she was three years old in 1828, Watkins was orphaned. She was raised by her maternal aunt and uncle. She was educated at the Academy for Negro Youth, a school run by her uncle Rev. William Watkins, who was a civil rights activist. He was a major influence on her life and work. At fourteen, she found work as a seamstress. Writing Career Frances Watkins had her first volume of verse, Forest Leaves, published in 1845 (it has been lost). Her second book, Poems on Miscellaneous Subjects, published in 1854, was extremely popular. Over the next few years, it was reprinted numerous times. In 1859, her story “The Two Offers” was published in Anglo-African Magazine, the first short story to be published by an African American. She continued with her writing and continued to publish poetry after becoming a political activist. In 1892 she published Iola Leroy, or Shadows Uplifted. One of the first novels by an African-American woman, it sold well and was reviewed widely. As the critic Terry Novak notes, she combined interests in the role of Christian women with "the color line, miscegenation, abolition, reconstruction, education, social responsibility," and women's suffrage. Teaching and Public Activism In 1850, Watkins moved to Ohio, where she worked as the first woman teacher at Union Seminary, established by the Ohio Conference of the AME Church. (Union closed in 1863 when the AME Church diverted its funds to purchase Wilberforce University, the first black-owned and operate college.) The school in Wilberforce was run by the Rev. John Brown (not the same as the abolitionist). In 1853, Watkins joined the American Anti-Slavery Society and became a traveling lecturer for the group. In 1854, Watkins delivered her first anti-slavery speech on “Education and the Elevation of Colored Race”. The success of this speech resulted a two-year lecture tour in Maine for the Anti-Slavery Society. She traveled, lecturing throughout the East and Midwest from 1856 to 1860. Marriage and Family At the age of 35, in 1860 she married Fenton Harper, a widower with three children. They had a daughter together in 1862. For a time Frances Harper withdrew from the lecture circuit. But, after her husband died in 1864, she returned to her travels and lecturing. Progressive causes Frances Watkins Harper was a strong supporter of abolition, prohibition and woman's suffrage, progressive causes linked before and after the American Civil War. She was also active in the Unitarian Church, which supported abolition. She often read her poetry at the public meetings, including the extremely popular "Bury Me in a Free Land". She was connected with national leaders in suffrage, and in 1866 gave a moving speech before the National Women's Rights Convention, demanding equal rights for all, including black women. Harper was very involved in black organizations. From 1883 to 1890, she helped organize activities for the National Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. continuing with political activism, she helped organize the National Association of Colored Women in 1896, and was elected vice president in 1897. Frances Harper died on February 22, 1911. Legacy and Honors African-American women's service clubs named themselves in her honor. Across the nation, in cities such as St. Louis, St. Paul, and Pittsburgh, F. E. W. Harper Leagues and Frances E. Harper Women's Christian Temperance Unions thrived well into the twentieth century. There is also a female honors dormitory named in her honor at Morgan State University, in Baltimore, Maryland, commonly referred to as Harper- Tubman, or simply Harper.)

The Best Poem Of Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

Bury Me In A Free Land

Make me a grave where'er you will,
In a lowly plain, or a lofty hill;
Make it among earth's humblest graves,
But not in a land where men are slaves.

I could not rest if around my grave
I heard the steps of a trembling slave;
His shadow above my silent tomb
Would make it a place of fearful gloom.

I could not rest if I heard the tread
Of a coffle gang to the shambles led,
And the mother's shriek of wild despair
Rise like a curse on the trembling air.

I could not sleep if I saw the lash
Drinking her blood at each fearful gash,
And I saw her babes torn from her breast,
Like trembling doves from their parent nest.

I'd shudder and start if I heard the bay
Of bloodhounds seizing their human prey,
And I heard the captive plead in vain
As they bound afresh his galling chain.

If I saw young girls from their mother's arms
Bartered and sold for their youthful charms,
My eye would flash with a mournful flame,
My death-paled cheek grow red with shame.

I would sleep, dear friends, where bloated might
Can rob no man of his dearest right;
My rest shall be calm in any grave
Where none can call his brother a slave.

I ask no monument, proud and high,
To arrest the gaze of the passers-by;
All that my yearning spirit craves,
Is bury me not in a land of slaves.

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper Comments

angel anderson 13 March 2018

awsome even though i haven't read it yet.\

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