Lucretia H. Newman Coleman was a renowned author. In 1890, she authored the book, ” Poor Ben: A Story of Real Life”. The book was based on the life of Benjamin William Arnett, the 17th Bishop of the AME Church.
Coleman was born in Dresden, Southwestern Ontario, Canada in 1854 to Nancy D. Brown and William P. Newman. Her father was a runaway slave from Virginia, who was later ordained as a Baptist minister after attending Oberlin College.
As a young girl, Coleman lived in Appleton, Wisconsin for a brief time. Her family relocated to the area after the death of the family’s patriarch, Baptist Minister, Rev. William P. Newman, who was also an abolitionist.
Coleman went on to attend Lawrence University in 1872 taking about two years of courses. She was one of the first black students to attend the school. After completing college, Coleman focused on writing. She had a distinguished career as an author in the 1880s and into the 1890s, writing articles published primarily in African American journals such as Our Women and Children and the A.M.E. Review, in addition to a biographical novel and poetry.
In 1890, she authored the book, “Poor Ben: A Story of Real Life.” Fluent at the end of the nineteenth-century, Coleman’s works were praised by her contemporaries of the African-American press.