Name: Harriet E. Wilson
Born: March 15, 1825/Milford, New Hampshire
Died: June 28, 1900/ Quincy, Massachusetts
Occupation: Novelist, Spiritualist
What Makes Her Bitchin’: Considered the 1st African-American female novelist, Harriet was also the 1st Black-American, woman or man, to publish a book in North America. Though, in 1859, Harriet’s work, Our Nig, or Sketches from the Life of a Free Black was published anonymously in Boston, Massachusetts, it was not widely distributed. Over a century later, it was rediscovered by the scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. in 1982.
Betcha’ Didn’t Know: Harriet was also part of the Spiritualist tradition, popular in America during later 19th and early 20th centuries, and was recognized in Spiritualist circles as “the colored medium.” In the Boston Spiritualist newspaper, Banner of Light, she advertised herself as a trance reader and lecturer.
For more about this novel novelist, check-out:
The Harriet Wilson Project
Harriet E. Wilson Became The First Black Person To Publish A Novel On This Date In 1859
The History Bitch
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