Minnie Lou Crosthwaite

Biographical Database of Black Women Suffragists

Biographical Sketch of Minnie Lou Crosthwaite, 1860-1937

Supplementary Sketch

The biographical sketch of Minnie Lou Crosthwaite that appeared in Notable Black American Women, Book II is very detailed, but provides no information on Crosthwaite's support for woman suffrage.

Sonya Ramsey, in Reading, Writing, and Segregation: A Century of Black Women Teachers in Nashville (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2008) has strong biographical material on Crosthwaite that adds to our earlier sketch.

In 1879 Scott Washington Crosthwaite, an experienced Black teacher in Nashville, was hired as principal of the newly-opened Knowles (Colored) Elementary School. That same fall the School Board hired Minnie Lou Scott and Robert White as teachers in the school. Minnie married Scott Crosthwaite in 1884.

Crosthwaite began teaching at Fisk University in 1905, and after four years as principal of the Normal Department, she became Fisk's Registrar. She wrote of her support for woman suffrage in a 1921 letter to Charlotte Hawkins Brown. Ramsey notes that Crosthwaite and other suffrage leaders "challenged conservative antisuffrage Washington supporters:" "I cannot agree with them on this question . . . because I am so sick and tired of dodging and parleying over things I know to be right." Ramsey writes as well that Crosthwaite and "Josie Wells and Mattie Coleman and . . . Frankie Pierce . . . spoke at citywide debates as well as to students and other interested persons, about the necessity for female siuffrage." (quotes on pp. 31-32)

Sources:

Minnie L. Crosthwaite to Charlotte Hawkins Brown, July 15, 1921, C H Brown Collection, July-Dec. 1921 file, reel 3, no. 41, Schlesinger Library.

Sonya Ramsey, in Reading, Writing, and Segregation: A Century of Black Women Teachers in Nashville (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2008)


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