This week, thanks to a friend and colleague, I rediscovered Frances Ellen Watkins Harper and her poem on a slave auction. Harper was an African American abolitionist, suffragist, and writer.
One part of her biography speaks to me today. In 1859, the same year of the Weeping Time slave auction of Savannah, Georgia, her moving short story “Two Offers” was published in the Anglo African, an early African American magazine. This made her one of the first Black women in America to publish a short story.
As always, I am struck by the two Americas: the same year that 436 men, women including 30 babies are sold away from the families and community they loved is the year in which a young Black woman is given an extraordinary opportunity to have her work published.
Today I share with you another work by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, her poem, “The Slave Auction.”
These are the shoulders on which I stand.