“I Speak of Wrongs”—Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper was one of many black women who joined the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, generally as part of segregated chapters. A supporter of the Fifteenth Amendment and founding member of the American Woman Suffrage Association, Harper famously exposed racial inequities at an 1866 suffrage convention, “You white women speak here of rights. I speak of wrongs.” Although a leader in the WCTU, she became disillusioned with the group’s lack of commitment to anti-lynching laws. Her novel, Iola Leroy, was among the first published by an African American woman and dealt with the issues of race, class, and temperance.