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Vickey Kalambakal

Susan Brownell Anthony was born in Adams, Massachusetts, to an unusual family. Her father was a Quaker; at the religious meetings she attended as a child, women were allowed to speak and were on an equal footing with men. The family was prosperous, and her parents encouraged freethinking and activism in their children. Anthony became an abolitionist and participant in the Underground Railroad. She is best remembered as one of the leaders and organizers of the women's suffrage movement.

Anthony's family moved from Massachusetts to Rochester, New York, in 1845. Over the next few years, the abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass also a resident of Rochester became a frequent visitor and speaker at Sunday meetings at the Anthony farm where abolition was discussed Like many reform minded people of the day Anthony also joined the local temperance society After being denied the chance to speak at ...

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Kimberly A. Sisson

poet, clubwoman, and political activist, was born in Chillicothe, Ohio, the daughter of Mary Evans and Joshua T. Williams, whose occupation is now unknown. In 1870 the family moved to Columbus, Ohio, where Mary Evans opened a successful wig-making business that operated for over twenty years. Carrie Williams attended the first integrated school in Columbus; whether she pursued higher education is unknown, however it is known that during the 1880s she taught in Parkersburg, West Virginia.

In 1886, at the age of twenty-four, she married William H. Clifford, a two-term Republican state representative from Cleveland. They would have two sons. As part of the black middle class in Cleveland, Clifford and her husband socialized with other important black figures such as Charles W. Chesnutt and George A. Meyers. Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Du Bois made frequent appearances in Cleveland joining the Cliffords ...

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Leigh Fought

Helen Pitts was born in Honeoye, New York, the daughter of the white abolitionists Gideon and Jane Wills Pitts. Her father began working with the renowned abolitionist and escaped slave Frederick Douglass in 1846. Thus, from an early age Helen knew of Douglass and his work. Her parents, wealthy enough to pursue their progressive ideals, ensured that she and her sisters, Eva and Jane, received a better education than most girls of the era. Although few institutions of higher learning accepted women students, Eva attended Cornell and Helen and Jane both attended Mount Holyoke College. Helen graduated in 1859.

Reconstruction offered Helen the opportunity to combine her education with her activism. She moved to Norfolk, Virginia, to teach in a school for freed slaves in 1863 The swampy climate there took its toll on her health and the violent hostility faced by the African American ...

Article

clubwoman, suffragette, and author was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Dr. Nathan F. Mossell and Gertrude E. H. (Bustill) Mossell. Born into one of the elite families of Philadelphia, Mazie attended Philadelphia public schools and the F. F. Jones Private School for Girls. After graduation she taught kindergarten for one year in Darby, Pennsylvania. She married Dr. Joshua R. Griffin Jr. of Richmond, Virginia, in 1909. They had one son, Francis Raleigh.

Following in her mother's footsteps, Mazie became a writer and contributed to a variety of newspapers. Her columns were published in the Philadelphia Tribune, Philadelphia Courant, Washington Sun, and Chicago Defender. Griffin founded the Phyllis Wheatley Club in order to encourage young women to write. While Griffin also published a book, Afro-American Men and Women Who Count, in 1915 her true calling was in public service As ...

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Donna L. Halper

suffragist and political activist, was born in Danville, Virginia, in 1872 (some sources, notably U.S. Census records, say 1874) to Alfred and Barbara Dillard. Little is known of her early life, but she received training as a dressmaker and clothing designer, studying in London and Paris as well as in the United States.

On 28 September 1898 she married William Harvey Higgins, who had recently graduated from medical school in North Carolina. They lived in New York City while he completed some additional training at Long Island Medical College, and during that period Bertha operated her own dressmaking shop. By 1903William Higgins had opened a medical practice in Providence, Rhode Island, where he was one of the city's few black physicians. As was customary in those days, Higgins gave up her profession after the birth of the couple's first child, Prudence, in 1913 However ...

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Thea Gallo Becker

clubwoman, community organizer, and reformer, was born Lugenia D. Burns in St. Louis, Missouri, the daughter of Ferdinand Burns, a well-to-do carpenter, and Louisa M. Bertha. Burns was raised in a Grace Presbyterian, middle-class family. Her father's sudden death forced her mother to move the family to Chicago to maintain their class standing and provide Lugenia, or “Genie” as she was called, with educational opportunities absent in St. Louis. From 1890 to 1893, while her older siblings worked to support the family, Burns attended high school and classes at the Chicago School of Design, the Chicago Business College, and the Chicago Art Institute.

Burns quit school abruptly to help support the family as a bookkeeper and dressmaker After several years she became the first African American secretary to the board of directors of King s Daughters a charitable organization serving teenage working girls the ...

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Verina Morton Jones was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and attended State Normal School in Columbia, South Carolina. From 1884 to 1888 she attended the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia—then widely acknowledged to be one of the best medical colleges for women in the country. She received her MD in 1888 and began practice in the African American community at Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi. Morton Jones was the first woman, black or white, to practice medicine in the state of Mississippi. She married twice; the first time in 1890 to W. A. Morton, MD, who died in 1895, and the second time in 1901 to Emory Jones, who died in 1927. She had one child from her first marriage, Franklin W., who was born in 1892.

Among the first African American women in the U S to receive a degree in ...

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Susan Knoke Rishworth

physician, civil rights and women's suffrage activist, settlement worker, and clubwoman, was born Verina Harris in Ohio, one of five children of Charlotte (Kitty) Stanly, a schoolteacher, and the Reverend W. D. Harris, a minister of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. Her mother came from a family of North Carolina free blacks who had inherited slaves that they wished to emancipate in the North before the impending Civil War. Around 1850 the family moved to Ohio, where Kitty Stanly and her husband taught school. The year of Verina Harris's birth is given as 1865 in some sources, but most probably it was between 1853 and 1857. Little is known about her early life, but the family apparently moved south to Columbia, South Carolina, in 1870 while her father was serving in an AME ministry in various locations in South Carolina More information ...

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Tekeste Negash

English anticolonial activist who was a key advocate for Ethiopia from the 1930s until her death, was born on 5 May 1882 in Manchester, England. In 1903, Sylvia, her mother Emmeline, and her older sister Christabel, founded the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU). She was a leader of the suffragette movement until 1913, when she left the WSPU because the organization had abandoned the struggle for universal adult suffrage for a narrower focus on gaining a limited franchise.

From 1913 to 1935, Sylvia turned her attention to social welfare issues from a socialist and communist perspective. She established the East London Federation of Suffragettes and founded a weekly paper, the Dreadnought. She was also involved in the establishment of the World Suffrage Federation, which became the World Socialist Federation in 1920 Sylvia Pankhurst was a founding member of the British Communist Party of ...

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Vivian Njeri Fisher

political and civil rights activist, suffragist, and feminist, was born free in Charleston, South Carolina. The second daughter born to William and Margarette Rollin, her family and friends called her Lottie. Her parents were among the elite free Charleston families of color. Very little is known about her mother except that she was a free person of color and probably from Saint Dominque. Her father was a descendant of a French family, the De Caradeucs, who were wealthy aristocrats who left Saint Dominque in 1792 and relocated to Charleston. The De Caradeucs became involved in the lumber trade and because of his family connections, William Rollin also entered the lumber business, amassing wealth, political power, valuable real estate, and a few slaves.

To ensure that his daughters, Frances Rollin (1845–1901), Charlotte Rollin (b. 1849), Kate Rollin (1851–1876), and Louisa Rollin ...

Article

Vivian Njeri Fisher

political and civil rights activist, suffragist, and educator, was born free in Charleston, South Carolina, as Katherine Euphrosyne Rollin, the third daughter of William Rollin, wood factor, and Margarette, housekeeper. Her mother's maiden name is unknown. Family and friends referred to her as Katie. Rollin and her parents were listed as mulatto in the 1850 U.S. census. Her parents wanted their four daughters to have a fine education. A law passed in 1834 in Charleston, however, “prohibited the maintenance of schools by and for free people of color and slaves.” As a result of this legislation, free blacks were forced to find other ways to educate their children (Holt, 53). Like her older sisters Frances Rollin and Charlotte Rollin Katie was privately tutored and she attended private schools in Charleston She also enrolled in secondary schools in Boston and in ...

Article

attorney, was born in Navasota, Texas, the daughter of Frank and Sarah E. Reinhardt Durden. Her birth year is chronicled in some sources as 1880 and in others as 1883 (and erroneously listed as 1909 in yet others). She completed high school in Parsons, Kansas, and received a degree from Quincy (Illinois) Business College (reportedly in 1906, although Who's Who in Colored America listed 1919 as her graduating year). She moved to Des Moines, Iowa, in 1907, where she married James B. Rush on 23 December of that year. She subsequently obtained a BA at Des Moines College in 1914 and prepared for the Iowa bar exam by reading law with her husband, a successful criminal trial attorney; she also took some courses at Drake University Law School in Des Moines. Her husband passed away prior to the completion of her studies.

When she was admitted ...