A Woman and a Sister Too? The Intertwining of Emancipation and Early Feminism


Ellen Craft (1826-1891) and William Craft (1824-1900) Autograph letter to Thomas Wentworth Higginson, 13 April 1851.

As told in their narrative, Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom (1860), the Crafts escaped slavery by disguising themselves as master and servant. Ellen, who had light skin, passed as a master traveling north with her servant, who was in fact her husband William. After arriving in Boston, they were welcomed into Boston's black community on Beacon Hill, until the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act forced them to flee to Britain. This letter to Higginson describes the Crafts' lives abroad and their friendship with esteemed English abolitionist and feminist Harriet Martineau.

bMS Am 784 (383) – Gift of Mrs. Thomas Wentworth Higginson, 1923.