Sarah Mapps Douglass was a teacher, an artist, a writer, an activist, a lecturer, and a poet. Born in Philadelphia on 1806, Douglass was the daughter of and Robert Douglass, a hairdresser, and Grace Bustill Douglass, a milliner and a teacher. Sarah Mapps Douglass began teaching at a school for African American children founded by her mother and James Forten, Sr. Douglass was raised a devout Quaker by her mother but often disagreed with the Quakers who consistently made African Americans sit in separate pews. She and her mother were principal members of the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society. She was the founder of the Female Literary Association (FLA), a group of women dedicated to reading and writing literature.
A child of activists, Douglass was was a fervent abolitionist. She and other members of the FLA wrote anti-slavery articles and letters under pseudonyms that were published in the Liberator and other abolitionist newspapers. Her school eventually merged with the Institute for Colored Youth where, she continued to teach for the rest of her life. In 1855, Douglass married William Douglass (no relation), a widower with nine children and rector of the St. Thomas African Episcopal Church. After his death in 1862, Douglass resumed teaching. She also attended classes at the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania, using what she had learned to lecture on female health and hygiene to groups of African American women. She continued lecturing into her old age and only stopped teaching when she was no longer physically able to get to the school. She died a day before her birthday in 1882.
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