News Archive, 2005
Thursday, February 28, 2005
Harriet Wilson Project Awarded Challenge Grant
Members of the Harriet Wilson Project flank Deborah Schachter, Senior Program Officer of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. From left to right: Gloria Henry, JerriAnne Boggis, Project Director, Mabelle Barnette, Deborah Schachter, Stasia Millett.
Concord, NH—The Harriet Wilson Project of Milford was recently awarded a challenge grant of $15,000 from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation’s Monadnock Region to support the creation of the Harriet Wilson memorial. The memorial will be in the form of a full-size bronze sculpture of Wilson, the first African-American woman to publish a novel in English in 1859, and will be erected in Bicentennial Park. The park landscape surrounding it has been researched and will reflect the extant flora of the times. Renowned Boston sculptor, Fern Cunningham, has been commissioned by The Project to create the permanent statue that interprets the spirit and essence of the pre-Civil War author. Wilson was born and raised in Milford and her groundbreaking novel, Our Nig; or Sketches from the Life of A Free Black detailed her life there.
The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation has been working to improve the quality of life in NH communities since 1962. It builds and manages a collection of funds, currently totaling $323 million created by individuals, families and corporations for charitable purposes of their choosing. In 2004, the Foundation awarded $20 million in grants to nonprofits across a broad spectrum of service areas – such as the arts, human services, community building and the environment – and scholarship funds to students.
The Harriet Wilson Project is actively seeking matching funds from area and state individuals and corporations to support its ongoing efforts. For further information about this memorial, Harriet Wilson or Project activities and calendar of events, go to www.harrietwilsonproject.com
or call (603) 249-9268.
Harriet Wilson on NPR
N.H. to Honor First African-American Novelist
by Shannon Mullen
Harriet Wilson on NHPR
"Milford Will Soon Be Home to a Unique Statue"
In memory, she stands 10 feet tall
Reprinted from the Concord Monitor
March 24, 2005
Author: ANNE RUDERMAN
New Hampshire history has a curious counterpoint to the likes of Daniel Webster and Franklin Pierce. In the 1800s, a mulatto girl named Harriet Adams grew up as an indentured servant to a white family in Milford. Routinely brutalized by her mistress, Adams (who became Harriet Wilson) turned her tribulations into a book, Our Nig, the first novel by an African-American to be published in the United States, and the first novel ever written by an African-American woman.
Milford to honor African-American novelist
Courtesy of The Union Leader
Reprinted from The Manchester Union Leader
By GIL BLISS
Union Leader Correspondent
MILFORD — Renowned Bay State sculptor Fern Cunningham tonight will reveal the design for her statue of 19th-century Milford author Harriet Wilson, a work that will be the state's first statue of a prominent African-American figure.
First African-American woman novelist revisited
Courtesy of Harvard Gazette
Reginald H. Pitts (left), historical researcher and genealogical consultant, and P. Gabrielle Foreman, associate professor of English and American studies at Occidental College, offer groundbreaking information about Harriet Wilson during 'Unveiling the Life and Legacy of Harriet Wilson' in the Barker Center's Thompson Room. (Staff photos Kris Snibbe/Harvard News Office)
Reprinted from The Harvard Gazette
March 24, 2005
New data about Harriet Wilson revealed
By Ken Gewertz
Harvard News Office
Harriet Wilson was a survivor. Now we have proof.
Wilson wrote "Our Nig; or Sketches From the Life of A Free Black," the earliest known novel by an African-American woman. It tells the story of Frado, a young biracial girl born in freedom in New Hampshire who becomes an indentured servant to a tyrannical and abusive white woman. In 1859, when the book was published, the abolitionist movement had created a vogue among Northern readers for autobiographies of escaped slaves, but Wilson's story of a free black abused by her Northern employer did not fit the established mold, and the novel soon fell into obscurity.
Black author's fate no longer a mystery
Reprinted from The Boston Globe
March 24, 2005
By James Vaznis
, Globe Correspondent
MILFORD, N.H. -- She ascends the steps triumphantly, her right arm extended outward, her autobiographically inspired book open in the palm of her hand, the pages flipping in the wind. Behind her smiles dreamily a 7-year-old boy -- her son, for whom she wrote the book to raise money to restore his ailing health.