Considered the first female African-American novelist, she earned this distinction by anonymously publishing her debut work, Our Nig, in 1859.
She was an indentured servant until she was eighteen years old.
Her first novel, Our Nig, or Sketches from the Life of a Free Black, was little known in her lifetime, but was rediscovered by scholar Henry Louis Gates in 1982.
She was born in New Hampshire to an African-American father and an Irish mother. She married Thomas Wilson in 1851.
Her literary style has been compared to that of Little Women author Louisa May Alcott.