Hari Jones Do You Know Maria W. Stewart

Maria W. Stewart (Maria Miller) (1803 – February 6, 1880) was a domestic servant who became an African-American journalist, lecturer, abolitionist, and women’s rights activist.
The first American woman to speak to a mixed audience of men and women, whites and blacks, Stewart was also the first African-American woman to make public lectures, as well as to lecture about women’s rights and make a public anti-slavery speech. The Liberator published two pamphlets by Stewart: “Religion and Pure Principles of Morality, the Sure Foundation on Which We Must Build” (which advocated abolition and black autonomy) and another of religious meditations. In February 1833, Stewart addressed Boston’s African Masonic Lodge, which soon ended her brief lecturing career. Her claim that black men lacked “ambition and requisite courage” caused an uproar amongst the audience, and Stewart soon decided to retire from giving lectures. Seven months later, she gave a farewell address at a schoolroom in the African Meeting House (“Paul’s Church”). Stewart then moved to New York, then to Baltimore, and finally Washington, where she worked as a schoolteacher, and then as head matron at Freedmen’s Hospital, where she ultimately died.

Scroll to Top