15.5"x14.25" paper collage

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Description of Bettiola Heloise Fortson Dress

Paper dress collage from antique papers and ads, and glass beads.

Bettiola Heloise Fortson (December 29, 1890—April 13, 1917) was an African American poet, essayist, activist and suffragist. She was co–founder and president of the University Society of Chicago, a literary women’s club (that included men in membership) that primarily focused on “artistic and intellectual development” amongst African Americans. She was the author of the 1915 book, Mental Pearls: original poems and essays, published by Julius F. Taylor. Her poems were included in the book, Six Poets of Racial Uplift, published in 1996 by G K Hall. Fortson died of tuberculosis at the age of 26. Her eulogy was read by the civil rights leader Ida B. Wells.