The history books may need to get updated. As it turns out, Harriet E. Wilson was not only famous for being America's first black female novelist and for her "hair-dressing" product. The author of Our Nig; or, Sketches From the Life of a Free Black, was also a spiritual guide in the Boston area. Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., writes in a blog post that while Wilson was born free in Milford, New Hampshire, she served as an indentured servant for the Hayward Family, and later wrote about her life in servitude. However, Gates, Gabrielle Foreman, and Kathy Flynn discovered that shortly after the Civil War, Wilson played a major role in the Spiritualist movement in Boston. In 1883, she founded her own school, The First Spiritual Progressive School, where she taught both black and white children. The main ideology Wilson was preaching was the idea that certain people known as mediums could communicate through the dead.
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