Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Poetry (American National Biography)

Mamie E. Locke, "Harper, Frances Ellen Watkins," American National Biography Online, February 2000,
Harper's poetry and prose were political. Her works tackled the issue of slavery and the cruelty endured by slave women. The final two lines of one of her more popular poems, "Bury Me in a Free Land," poignantly expresses the desire of slaves: "All that my yearning spirit craves / Is bury me not in a land of slaves." The "Slave Auction" addressed the issue of children being sold away from their mothers:
And mothers stood with streaming eyes
And saw their dear children sold
Unheeded rise their bitter cries,
While tyrants bartered them for gold.

Feminism was often the theme of Harper's works. The poem "Deliverance" (from Sketches of a Southern Life) is concerned with the response of women to men who abused the privilege of voting:
Day after day did Milly Green
Just follow after Joe
And told him if he voted wrong
To take his rags and go.
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