Frances Harper Poems

Frances Harper was a poet, teacher, and writer. She is also regarded as an important member of the abolitionist movement and one of the first African American writers to be published in the United States. She had a long career, starting with her first book of poetry published when she was 20 years old. 

A Double Standard

by Frances Harper

‘A Double Standard’ by Frances Harper is a powerful condemnation of gender inequalities and social hypocrisy, offering a timeless critique that continues to resonate.

Frances Harper's poems often focus on social justice issues, particularly those concerning race and gender. 'A Double Standard' is no exception, examining gender inequality and societal hypocrisy. Her ability to weave personal narratives with larger societal themes makes her work resonant and relevant.

Do you blame me that I loved him?

If when standing all alone

I cried for bread a careless world

Pressed to my lips a stone.

The Slave Mother

by Frances Harper

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper’s ‘The Slave Mother’ portrays an enslaved woman’s anguish, emphasizing the enduring power of love amid oppression.

This poem is a good representation of Frances Ellen Watkins Harper's poems. Harper was an abolitionist and social reformer, and many of her poems focused on themes of slavery, human rights, and the plight of African Americans. 'The Slave Mother' exemplifies her ability to capture the emotional depth of the human experience and confront the harsh realities of slavery, showcasing her powerful use of imagery, emotive language, and social commentary.

Heard you that shriek? It rose

So wildly on the air,

It seem’d as if a burden’d heart

Was breaking in despair.

Learning to Read

by Frances Harper

‘Learning to Read’ by Frances Harper is a powerful poem about formerly enslaved people learning to read and gaining independence and strength through education. 

This poem is a great example of Harper's commitment to advocating for education as a means of liberation, empowerment, and resistance against oppression. Her poetry holds historical importance as it sheds light on the experiences of African Americans during a tumultuous period in American history, showcasing the resilience and determination of the human spirit to overcome adversity.

Very soon the Yankee teachers

Came down and set up school;

But, oh! how the Rebs did hate it,—

It was agin’ their rule.

Bury Me in a Free Land

by Frances Harper

‘Bury Me in a Free Land’ depicts the cruel custom of slavery that prevailed in America. This poem presents the speaker’s wish to be buried in a land where no men are treated as slaves.

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