Frances Ellen Watkins

Frances Ellen Watkins, a black woman, was born free during the time of slavery. She believed strongly about abolishing, or ending, slavery. She was a writer and also gave speeches and lectures.

In 1850, Frances Watkins became the first woman teacher at the Union Seminary of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Brown Township. The church settlement, or community, was located from the north side of Roberts Road to Big Darby Creek. It is believed that the Union Seminary of the African Methodist Episcopal Church community was involved in the Underground Railroad.  Frances Watkins was quoted many times in the book, The Underground Railroad.  One of her quotes includes the following:

“There are no people that need all the benefits from a well-directed education more than we do. The conditions of our people, the wants of our children, and the welfare of our race demand the aid of every helping hand. It is a work of time, a labor of patience, to become an effective school teacher…”

Adapted by Colleen Anderson