Addie Waites Hunton

Biographical Database of Black Women Suffragists

Biographical Sketch of Addie Waites Hunton, 1866-1943

By Thomas Dublin, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Binghamton University

This sketch is intended to supplement the more detailed published biographical sketches for Hunton reprinted in this database with additional treatment of Hunton's woman suffrage activity.

Hunton's birth is given in those sources as either 1866 or 1875. Census links for Adeline Waits with her parents in Virginia in 1870 and 1880 confirm the date of 1866.

While employed as Field Secretary for the NAACP, Addie Hunton made a trip in October 1920 to report on the voter registration process in Hampton and Phoebus, Virginia. In her final report, Hunton noted the range of subterfuges that white Registrars employed to slow down and in many cases block voter registration of Black women.

Hunton's focus on woman suffrage continued after the November election. In her NAACP capacity she organized a delegation of 60 Black women to meet with Alice Paul on the eve of a National Woman's Party convention in Washington, DC. The purpose of the convention was to re-set the NWP's agenda now that the 19th Amendment had been passed. Black women had been largely disenfranchised in the South, so Black women attending this convention had their own agenda. Their efforts are well described in the Women and Social Movements document project titled, "How Did the National Woman's Party Address the Issue of the Enfranchisement of Black Women, 1919-1924?" The delegation's purpose in calling for the meeting was to lobby for greater participation of Black suffragists at the NWP convention and to get the NWP on record as calling for a Congressional investigation of failure to enforce the 19th Amendment in the South. In a letter following the convention, Addie Hunton reported to the NAACP Secretary, James Weldon Johnson, that Paul was "thoroughly hostile to the delegation." Five weeks later, in a letter to Mary White Ovington of the NAACP, Hunton wrote, "Although we did not picket the Woman's Party we harassed them very thoroughly and succeeded in bringing our issue to the floor of the Convention. We distributed nearly one thousand of our Disfranchisement pamphlets and gained many friends."


Adrienne Lash Jones, "Addie Waits Hunton: Social Justice and Human Rights Activist," Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000 19 (Sept. 2015).

Federal Manuscript Censuses for Virginia, 1870 and 1880, family of Jesse and Adeline Hunton. Accessed online via Ancestry Library Edition.

Brent Tarter, Marianne E. Julienne and Barbara C. Batson, The Campaign for Woman Suffrage in Virginia (Charleston, SC: History Press, 2020), p. 151.

Liette Gidlow, "Resistance after Ratification: The Nineteenth Amendment, African American Women, and the Problem of Female Disfranchisement after 1920," in Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000 (2017).

Letter, Addie W. Hunton to James Weldon Johnson, NAACP Papers, Group 1, Series C, Administrative Files, box 407 (microfilm series Part 4-Voting Rights Campaign, 1916-1950; reel 2, frame 887), Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Letter, A.W. Hunton to [Mary White] Ovington, 25 March 1921, NAACP Papers, Part 01: Meetings of the Board of Directors, Records of Annual Conferences, Major Speeches, and Special Reports, in Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., accessed online, ProQuest Black Studies.


Links to Additional Biographical Sketches

Notable American Women
Dictionary of American Negro Biography
Who's Who of the Colored Race


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Link to Scholarly Essay

Addie Waits Hunton: Social Justice and Human Rights Activist by Adrienne Lash Jones

Related Works in DuBois Online Correspondence: 111

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