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Frances E. W. Harper at 200: Commemorating Her Life and Legacy

Frances E. W. Harper at 200: Commemorating Her Life and Legacy

Frances E. W. Harper

September 24, 1825 – February 22, 1911

The year 2025 marks the 200th anniversary of Frances Ellen Watkins’s birth. The Center for Black Digital Research/#DigBlk is hosting a slate of exciting scholarly and arts programming and community events to commemorate Watkins’s life and legacy. Events include:
  • A symposium the weekend before or after her birthday in September 2025 (TBA)
  • A major performance of dance, poetry, and original music with events to be held in the places she lived and worked
  • A major digital exhibit
  • K-12 and college curricula
  • Our Douglass Day transcribe-a-thon featuring Harper’s papers with a Harper birthday cake bake off
  • and more!
Stay tuned for updates throughout the year.
Have a Frances E. W. Harper event to add to our Harper events page? Let us know at
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, 1825-1911. Source: Library of Congress.

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper (1825-1911) was an antislavery activist, suffragist, educator, writer, poet, and lecturer. She is most known for her seminal text, Iola Leroy, but she was also a frequent contributor to African American newspapers, where she published many of her poems and short stories. Harper was heavily involved in women’s rights organizations and helped found the National Association of Colored Women (NACW), serving as vice president in its first year.

Read more about Frances E. W. Harper at the Black Women’s Organizing Archive.

Related Scholarly and Community Commemorations

Mary Ann Shadd Cary at 200