Colored Woman’s Equal Suffrage League of Brooklyn
Most of the black women who belonged to suffrage clubs did not confine their activism to the suffrage movement. Sarah Smith Garnet, the first black woman principal in New York City, her sister, Susan Smith McKinney Steward, the first black woman licensed to practice medicine in New York, helped to form the Equal Suffrage League in the late 1880s. Members engaged in any number of benevolent activities, including support for Harriet Tubman’s Old Age Home in Auburn and the Colored Orphan Asylum. Many of the members, like Charlotte Ray, the first black female lawyer in the United States, were firsts in their professions. When their membership outgrew private homes, they found other places to meet, such as at the YMCA. When Garnet stepped down, Verina Morton-Jones, the first black woman to become a medical doctor in Mississippi, took over as president of the suffrage league after establishing a practice in Brooklyn. She also helped found the Lincoln Settlement House, just one example of the broad range of black women’s social advocacy.