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Local History

Temperance Lecturers in 1886

The Springfield Daily Leader, September 1, 1886, announced "Francis E. W. Harper, the colored temperance lecturer, will speak in this city next Sunday. Brother Sobieski would do well to secure her services." And the same paper of September 4, stated the "lecture of Mrs. Francis Harper in the colored church last night is highly praised by those who heard her. She is doing a good work among the colored people."

Note. In the September 22, 1886, issue of the Daily Leader, the Hon. John Sobieski’s temperance lecture was described as "No new points of consequence were made. It was the same old song sung by John Peter St. John, Neal Dow, and other prohibitionists."

In 1883, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper became the superintendent of the Colored Section of the Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Women’s Christian Temperance Union. In 1894, she helped found The National Association of Colored Women and served as its vice president. As a member of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society in 1851, she helped escaped slaves on their way to Canada. She began her career as a public speaker and political activist after joining the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1853.

Photograph courtesy of the New York Public Library.

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