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Mossell, N.F.
The Work of Afro-American Women



" The value of any published work, especially if historical in character, must be largely inspirational; this fact grows out of the truth that race instinct, race experience lies behind it, national feeling, or race pride always having for its development a basis of self-respect." The emancipation of the Negro race came about at the entrance to that which has been aptly termed the Woman's Century; co-education, higher education for women, had each gained a foothold. The "Woman's Suffrage" movement had passed the sierra of ridicule and entered upon that of critical study. The Woman's Christian Temperance Union had become a strong factor in the reform work of the nation. These facts made the uplifting of the womanhood of this race a more hopeful task than might otherwise have been, and gave to the individual woman of the race opportunities to reach a higher plane of development with less effort than would have been possible under a more unfavorable aspect of the woman question. Trammelled by their past condition and its consequent poverty, combined with the blasting influence

of caste prejudice, they have yet made a fair showing.

The men of the race, in most instances, have been generous, doing all in their power to allow the women of the race to rise with them. "Woman's Work in America," by Anna Nathan Myer, garners up the grain from the harvest field of labor of our Anglo-American sisters. I would do for the women of my race, in a few words, this work that has been so ably done for our more favored sisters by another and abler pen. Accepting largely the divisions laid down in the above mentioned volume, we have, along the line of successful educational work in the North, that most successful teacher and eloquent lecturer, Mrs. Fanny J. Coppin, principal of the Institute for Colored Youth at Philadelphia. Mrs. Coppin, one of the early graduates of Oberlin College, developed into one of the most noted educators in the United States. Hundreds of her graduates have filled positions of honor; hundreds of them are laboring as teachers for the up building of their race. The grand work of establishing an Industrial School in connection with the Institute did not satisfy the heart of this noble benefactress of her race, but she at once set about establishing a boarding home for pupils from a distance. The effort is prospering and will no doubt be an assured fact in the near future. This lady is a very busy

worker in various fields scores of needy students have been assisted by her own open-handed charity, as well as by her own interest secured through her in their behalf. Her home is one of unostentatious hospitality. Mrs. Coppin is the wife of Rev. Levi Coppin, D. D., editor of the A. M. E. Review.

Miss Julia Jones, Miss Lottie Bassett, and Miss Frazelia Campbell, of the same institution, Caroline R. Le Count of the O. V. Catto School, of Philadelphia, Mrs. S. S. Garnet, principal of Grammar School 81, 17th Street, New York City, Edwina Kruse, principal of the Howard School, Wilmington, Del., are able educators. In the East, we have Miss Maria Baldwin, principal of the Agassiz School, Cambridgeport, Mass. In the South, we have Mrs. Anna J. Cooper, of the High School, Washington, D. C., Prof. Mary V. Cook, Miss Bessie Cook, of Howard University, Miss Lucy Moten, principal of the Normal School of Washington, who was one of the honorary vice-presidents of the World's Educational Conference at the World's Fair, and Miss Mary Patterson; passing farther southward, Miss Lucy Laney, of the Haynes Industrial School at Augusta, Ga., Miss Alice Dugged Cary, and scores of others, who are doing good work. Mrs. Wm. Weaver, who with her husband is laboring against great odds in the upbuilding of the Gloucester Industrial School, Va., deserves honorable mention. In the West, we

have successful teachers giving instruction to our own race; we have also several Afro-American women elected to teacherships in the white schools of Cleveland, placed there as one must readily see by unquestioned merit. Miss Jennie Enola Wise, of the State Normal School, Alabama, now Mrs. Dr. H. T. Johnson, wife of the editor of The Christian Recorder, Miss Anna Jones, of Wilberforce, Miss Ione Wood and Miss Lucy Wilmot Smith, of the Kentucky State Normal School, have all labored successfully at their chosen profession. Among eminent educators who have retired from active work in this field of effort we would mention Miss Pet Kiger, now Mrs. Isiah Wears, Mrs. Silone Yates, formerly of Lincoln Institute, Mrs. Cordelia Atwell, Mrs. Susie Shorter, Mrs. Dr. Alston of Asheville, N. C., formerly of Shaw University, Mrs. Sarah Early, of Wilberforce University, Mrs. Wm. D. Cook, formerly Miss Bertha Wolf, of Allen University. Miss Florence Cozzen and Miss Fanny Somerville of Philadelphia are successful kindergartners. Very many of the higher grade institutions for the education of Afro-American students North, South, East and West employ in their corps of teachers women of the race who are doing able work on the basis of education received in the High and Normal Schools of the various States. Our girls are yearly entering the collegiate institutions of the land,
We can boast of Ella Smith, of Newport, an M. A. of Wellesley. Anna J. Cooper, Fanny J. Coppin and Mary Church Terril, of Oberlin. Wilberforce, Atlanta, Fisk, Howard, Scotia, Shaw, Tuskegee, Livingstone. The Institute for Colored Youth at Philadelphia, Wayland Seminary and Hampton are graduating yearly a fair share of the successful educators in this country, and continue to enroll yearly those who will in later years do honor to their race.

Miss Florence and Miss Cordelia Ray, Miss Mary Eato and Miss Imogene Howard have all secured the degree of master of Pedagogy from the University of New York; Miss Mollie Durham and Miss Annie Marriot of Philadelphia have secured Supervising Principals' certificates in that city.

Have the women of this race yet made a record in literature? We believe that we can answer this question in the affirmative. Phyllis Wheatley, our first authoress, gave to the world a most creditable volume of poems. The beautiful verses of the little slave girl, who though a captive yet sung her song of freedom, are still studied with interest.

The path of literature open to our women with their yet meagre attainments has been traveled to some purpose by Mrs. Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, who has through a long widowhood sustained herself and her family by her pen and by her voice as a lecturer on

the reforms of the hour. Mrs. Harper is the author of two volumes of poems, "Forest Leaves" and "Moses." A novel, "Iola Leroy, or, The Shadows Uplifted," from the pen of this gifted woman, has just been placed upon the market. As superintendent of the colored work in the "Woman's Christian Temperance Union" she has labored for years with great success. A member of the "National Council of Women," of the "Association for the Advancement of Women," of the "Colored Authors and Educators Association," she has at various meetings of these societies furnished valuable papers; "Dependent Races" and "Enlightened Motherhood" being especially worthy of mention. The N. Y. Independent, A. M. E. Review, and other high grade journals receive contributions from her pen. Mrs. Anna J. Cooper, author of "A Voice from the South by a Black Woman of the South," has given to the world one of the finest contributions yet made toward the solution of the Negro problem. Mrs. Josephine Heard is the author of "Morning Glories," a charming little volume of verse. Mrs. M. A. Dove, the widow of Rev. W. A. Dove, is the author of a biographical sketch of her late husband that has received unstinted praise. "Poor Ben," a biographical sketch of the life of Benjamin F. Arnett, D. D., by Lucretia Coleman, and a volume of poems by Mrs. Frankie Wassoms, continues our list of
fair authors. Mrs. Harvey Johnson, wife of Dr. Harvey Johnson, of Baltimore, Md., has published two valuable Sabbath School stories, for which she has received a good round sum; they are both published and have been purchased by the American Baptist Publication Society of Philadelphia. Amanda Smith, the noted evangelist, has published a most interesting autobiography of her labors in Africa, England, and the United States.

Miss Florence and H. Cordelia Ray are the authors of an exquisite memorial volume in honor of their father, the late Charles B. Ray, of New York City. "Aunt Lindy," a story from the pen of Mrs. Wm. E. Matthews, president of the Women's Loyal Union of Brooklyn, N. Y., is our latest contribution to authorship. Mrs. Matthews is widely known by her chosen nom de plume "Victoria Earle."


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