Today, I would like to focus on the first African American woman who is believed to have published a novel in the United States.
Harriet E. Wilson was born around 1828, possibly in Milford, NH. When she was 23, she moved to Massachusetts working as a seamstress. In 1851 she married Thomas Wilson, but Wilson abandoned Harriet less than a year later before the birth of their son.
Wilson was living in a poorhouse. She had no choice but to abandon her son and move to Boston to make a living and regain custody of her son. Wilson would write to support herself and her child.
She published her novel: Our Nig, or, Sketches from the Life of a Free Black, in a Two-story White House, North. Showing that Slavery’s Shadows Fall Even There, in 1859. Her son died six months later at the age of seven.
The few facts that we know of Wilson all comes from her book. Her story was published by Massachusetts publisher, George C. Rand and Avery.
Wilson died on June 28, 1900.
For more information visit: