In 1825, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper was born in Baltimore. Her parents died when she was only two, leaving her to live with her grandfather and attend the Baltimore Academy for Negro Youth School, where her uncle was a teacher. Influenced by their political activism and a strong education, she began writing poetry. Harper published a collection of poetry called Forest Leaves in 1845, but is perhaps best known for her novel, Iola LeRoy, the story of a young woman who went south to offer help to the freed slaves following the Civil War.
In 1839, Trueman Pratt, Cyrus Moore and Basil Hall, three free Black men, founded the Orchard Street Church. The church was a central part of a thriving community for free African-Americans after the Civil War. After Pratt’s death 1877, the congregation outgrew their church, and a new church was built in the same location in 1882. Now home to the Baltimore Urban League, Orchard Street Church remains the oldest standing structure built by African-Americans in Baltimore.