Women were very active in the abolitionist movement, at a time when women were, in general, not active in the public sphere. These Black women, along with many others, should not be forgotten.
Elizabeth Freeman was the first enslaved person to file and win a freedom suit in Massachusetts. Her suit, along with others, set the legal precedents that ended slavery in Massachusetts. Freeman became widely recognized for her skills as a healer, midwife, and nurse.
Sojourner Truth (Isabella Baumfree) was an American abolitionist and women's rights activist. She was born into slavery but escaped with her infant daughter to freedom in 1826. After going to court to recover her son in 1828, she became the first Black woman to win a lawsuit against a white man.
Harriet Tubman (Araminta Ross) escorted hundreds of enslaved people to freedom over a ten-year span. During the Civil War, she served as an armed scout and spy and was the first woman to lead an armed expedition in the war. She guided the raid at Combahee Ferry, which liberated more than 700 enslaved people. In her later years, Tubman was an activist in the struggle for women's suffrage.
Sarah Parker Remond was a lecturer, abolitionist, and agent of the American Anti-Slavery Society. An international activist for human rights and women's suffrage, she made her first speech against slavery when she was 16 years old. She later became a doctor and practiced medicine for over 20 years.
Frances E.W. Harper was an abolitionist, suffragist, poet, teacher, public speaker, and writer. She was the first Black woman to publish a short story. Her speech, "Education and the Elevation of the Colored Race" resulted in a two-year lecture tour for the Anti-Slavery Society.
Mary Ann Shadd Cary was an anti-slavery activist, journalist, publisher, teacher, and lawyer. She was the first Black woman publisher in North America.
Ellen Craft escaped slavery by using her light-skinned appearance to disguise herself as a white man, with her husband posing as her servant. They successfully traveled to the North, and eventually to England, where they published a narrative recounting their enslaved lives and their daring escape.
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