Biographical Database of Black Women Suffragists

Biography of Phoebe A. Green, 1862-1917


By Gabrielle Fagan, Nadia Hamdan, Nicholas Hadley, students, University of Michigan-Dearborn, and Thomas Dublin

Phoebe A. _____ (maiden name unknown) was born in New York in 1862 and married Abram (or Abraham) Green in 1877. Abram was 7 years older than Phoebe and had been born in South Carolina. In 1900 they lived on West 113th St. in Manhattan with no children but two of Abram's siblings. Abram was recorded as a salesman and both were able to read and write. By 1910 they had moved to 53rd Street where they kept a lodging house for the Colored YMCA with 20 male boarders and still no children. All the boarders were recorded as Black except for one from India. Phoebe was listed as a housekeeper and Abram as a janitor.

Phoebe Green was the District Grand Recorder of the Household of Ruth No.7 - New York (“Colored Women Endorse Enfranchisement” 4). The Household of Ruth was organized in June 22, 1897, as the female auxiliary to the District Grand Lodge No.2, of the United Order of Grand Odd Fellows (GUOOF) of New York - a fraternal brotherhood group aimed at social and moral outreach (Barga 1). The Household of Ruth started out as a Mutual Aid Society to assist African Americans in need, such as relieving the sick or burying deceased members, since life insurance wasn't available for them. Later the Household of Ruth began to select various charities for support. Furthermore, new members of the Household of Ruth had to know a member who vouched for their integrity and good character (Huffman). With that being said, Phoebe Green must have been well thought of, as she was voted into a high position in the Household of Ruth: the Grand Recorder. This role entailed many responsibilities, some of which included composing reports, writing minutes during meetings and hearings, and documenting membership information (Huffman).

Phoebe Green endorsed the enfranchisement of women and wanted women of color to be included in the movement. In 1915, as (male) voters in New York prepared consider a ballot proposal for woman suffrage, she co-authored a letter to the Woman Suffrage Party that contained a Woman Suffrage Resolution, voted on by the members of the Household of Ruth at their annual meeting in Ebenezer Baptist Church. The Resolution endorsed votes for women while also making sure the voices of colored women are heard. The resolution stated that it was unjust “to subjugate people on account of sex as on account of color,” adding: “WHEREAS, the women of our race are largely wage-earners in industry and their labor needs the protection of the ballot. . . . BE IT RESOLVED, That the Household of Ruth endorses the cause of Woman Suffrage and urges our husband, brothers, sons and friends to help win our emancipation by voting for the Woman Suffrage Amendment, November 2, 1915.”

The Household of Ruth made it clear that they were supportive of the cause of Woman Suffrage and that they encouraged their relatives and friends to vote for the Women's Suffrage Amendment. What they made most clear, however, was the fact that they, and all women of color, desired and deserved this amendment. The 1915 suffrage referendum was defeated, but in 1917 New York state voters did approve the measure.


“Abram B Green.” FamilySearch, New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA:, 2014.

Barga, Michael. “Grand United Order of Odd Fellows in America.” Social Welfare History Project, 6 Mar. 2018, accessed online at

“Colored Women Endorse the Enfranchisement of Women.,” The Broad Ax, 28 Aug. 1915, p. 4. Accessed online at

Huffman, Anne. Personal Interview. 18 March 2019.

“Phoebe A Green.” FamilySearch,

“Woman Suffrage Party Mission Statement.” The Library of Congress, Woman Suffrage Party, 1909, accessed online at

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