*The birth of Maria W. Stewart in 1803 is celebrated on this date. She was a Black abolitionist, feminist, author and educator.
She was born in Hartford, Connecticut, as Maria Miller. Her parents’ first names and occupations are not known. Stewart was orphaned by age five and became an indentured servant, serving as a clergyman until she was fifteen. She attended Connecticut Sabbath schools and read a lot in the clergyman’s library, teaching herself how to read and comprehend. When she was fifteen, she began supporting herself by working as a servant.
In 1826 she married James W. Stewart, taking not only his last name but also his middle initial. Her husband, a shipping agent, had served in the War of 1812 and had spent some time in England as a prisoner of war. With her marriage, she became part of Boston’s small free black middle class. Stewart became involved in some of the institutions founded by that black community, including the Massachusetts General Colored Association, which worked for the immediate abolition of slavery…