because the woman's place is wherever the woman is...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Frances Watkins

Frances Watkins was born free and Black in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1825. She got a good education and many opportunities to read and write. In fact, she got so good at writing that her poems were being published while she was still in her teens. But rather than just resting on her laurels, Watkins continually expanded her interests and her influence.

She was paid to deliver lectures on the abolition of slavery and the rights of women. She boldly assisted slaves to escape on the Underground Railroad. She reached out to and supported John Brown and his wife when he was arrested for his attack on the armory at Harper's Ferry. And she worked to get women the vote, reminding her White sisters that Black women needed to be included in their actions, as well.

"Talk as you will of woman's deep capacity for loving," Watkins preached, "I do not deny it; but will the mere possession of any human love fully satisfy all the demands of her whole being?...Woman -- if you would render her happy -- needs...her conscience [to] be enlightened, her faith in the true and right established, and scope given to her...God-given faculties." In-your-face women want more out of life than a husband and children to serve.

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