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Volume 2, Issue 3, February 13, 2017
In keeping with Black History Month, this issue focuses on two women from the 19th century. One was an author whose novel exposed the evils of slavery to the world; the other was a newspaper publisher and bank president. Both of them, one white and one black, brought civil rights' issues to the forefront and challenged stereotypes in the face of adversity.
Cynthia Collins
Cynthia Collins 

Harriet Beecher Stowe House (in Cincinnati)
Harriet Beecher Stowe House - Cincinnati, OHHarriet Beecher Stowe was a prolific author and abolitionist who was born in Litchfield, CT, into a large family of educators, civil rights' advocates, and religious leaders. The family moved to Cincinnati, OH, when her father, Rev. Lyman Beecher, an outspoken Presbyterian minister, became the first president of Lane Theological Seminary in 1832. For Harriet, the next 18 years there shaped her thoughts, her future, and served as quite an education regarding slavery. First-hand accounts of escaped slaves and the work of abolitionists left a deep impression on her.

It was also in Cincinnati where she met her husband, Calvin Ellis Stowe, a Biblical scholar and professor at Lane. Both of them were critics against slavery. They supported the Underground Railroad, offering food and shelter in their home to escaped slaves. The Stowe family moved to Maine in 1850 when Calvin was hired to teach religion at Bowdoin College. While in Maine, Harriet wrote her anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin. Her fictional characters and the struggles they endured were based on accounts told to her in Cincinnati by those who had experienced such an existence.

The Harriet Beecher Stowe House focuses on the 1830s to 1860s. In addition to Harriet's life in Cincinnati, the house includes history of the Beecher and Stowe families, Lane Seminary, civil and human rights issues, laws regarding slavery ranging from the fugitive slave laws of 1850 approved by the U.S. Congress to the Emancipation Proclamation, and the Underground Railroad. Uncle Tom's Cabin was published in 1852 and became a bestseller during Stowe's lifetime, influencing people in the U.S. and abroad. The house is closed from mid-December through the end of February but reopens March 2, 2017.

Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site

Maggie L. Walker Nat'l Historic Site - Richmond, VAMaggie L. Walker was an African-American businesswoman, teacher, and community leader. She was born in 1864, during the Civil War, in Richmond, VA, and was the first African-American woman to start a bank and serve as its president. She also founded and was the editor of a newspaper, and opened a department store that offered jobs to African-American women.

In her teens, Walker joined the Independent Order of St. Luke, a fraternal organization dedicated to the improvement of African-American lives. The organization focused on humanitarian causes, financial help for medical expenses and burials, business expenses, and education for the black community while fighting racism and sexism. This was accomplished during post-Civil War history, ranging from the Reconstruction to Jim Crow laws, and before women had won the right to vote. Walker remained a member of the order for her entire life and used her financial skills to help others own their own homes and businesses.

The Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site includes her home with its original furniture and surrounding buildings that are used for exhibits. During her lifetime, the area was known as "Quality Row" where lawyers, doctors, bankers, and other upper-class African-Americans lived. A virtual tour of the 28-room house is available. Guided tours are offered year-round. 
New articles will be in next issue...
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The Unicorn Tree
The Unicorn Tree by Cynthia Collins

A teenage girl whose brother is lost at sea –

The diary of a nineteenth-century woman –

And the special place that binds them…

For reviews, excerpts, and summary, see

The Unicorn Tree is listed on the 2016 Winter Reading List of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators  (SCBWI) under grades 9-12.

Ghost story and maritime adventure...
Available at
Photo credit: Harriet Beecher Stowe House: courtesy of Friends of Harriet Beecher Stowe House, Inc.
Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site: courtesy of NPS.

All articles in this newsletter are by Cynthia Collins. The featured historic site section contains general information. The other articles may not be reprinted without written permission. Subscriber lists are not sold or given to any third parties and historic sites are not charged for being featured. To suggest historic sites for future issues, request article reprint permission, or any comments/questions regarding this newsletter, please contact Cynthia Collins.
Copyright © 2017 Cynthia Collins, All rights reserved.

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