Georgianna K. Offutt

Biographical Database of Black Woman Suffragists

Biography of Georgianna K. Offutt, 1868-1949

By Eleanor Raab, Julia Basnage, Chloe Gerod, Hannah Lesti, Sode Smith, Alexa Thomson, Claire Van Dyke, students at Sacred Heart Preparatory High School, Atherton, California

Suffragist, Vice President of the Alameda County League of Colored Women Voters

Georgianna K. Offutt was born on August 21, 1868 in St. Louis, Missouri. She was married to Rodum F. Kenner from 1890 until his death in 1893. After moving to California, in 1893, she remarried to Boone Offutt, who died in 1932. In California Eagle, the newspaper for which she wrote, her name is listed as Mrs. B. C. Offutt, showing that even as a female suffragist, she took her husband’s name instead of her own, as per the social norms of the day. She had two children, Byron F. Kenner from her first marriage and Ruby Offutt from her second.

Georgianna attended both Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri, and the College of Chiropody in San Francisco, California, where she studied chiropody. She received a doctorate from the latter in Orthopedic and Surgical Chiropody in 1922. After completing her education, she moved to Los Angeles, where she worked as a schoolteacher for fourteen years and practiced chiropody for over twenty-five. In addition to pursuing an impressive academic and professional career, Georgianna K. Offutt was also a prominent leader of the suffrage movement -- both uncommon achievements among black women in the early 20th century. She was extremely prominent and widely respected in the California suffrage movement, elected Second Vice President of the Alameda County League of Colored Women Voters. Along with two other black women, Emma Lou Sayers and Dr. Vada J. Somerville, Offutt developed a voter education program for black men and women that ensured informed and intelligent voting.

Disadvantaged by both her race and gender, Dr. Georgianna K. Offutt was often ostracized in the medical world. She spoke often publicly of the challenges of these intersecting obstacles, using newspapers and other publications as means to raise awareness of her experiences, and spread solidarity among Black women. In one case, she published a newspaper piece titled “Negro Woman in the Medical World” in collaboration with other women, such as Dr. Hellen Lee, Mrs. Beatrice Thompson, and Mrs. Marie Fredericks, all of whom offered short testimonies. In addition to her personal activism as a black female doctor, Offutt was also involved in politics, supporting Republican candidates who advocated for women’s rights. Leading up to the 1920 Ohio primary election, Dr. Offutt joined many women in Southern California in endorsing William Kent to run for Congress. Involved in the Alameda League of Women Voters, Offutt and the other members took a leading role in Kent’s campaign, organizing a straw ballot for the primary election. Dr. Georgia Offutt also showed her support for women’s rights through her speeches and rallies.

In addition to her work as a suffragist, Georgianna K. Offutt was very involved with other service organizations. In her lifetime she served as as President of the Sojourner Truth club, and was a member of the Delta Mothers, Kappa Mothers, YWCA, NAACP and the A.M.E. Church of Pasadena. She passed away in Los Angeles in 1949, and was survived by both of her children.


1) "Georgia Kenner Offutt (1868 - 1949) - Find A Grave Memorial." Georgia Kenner Offutt (1868 -1949) - Find A Grave Memorial. Accessed 17 Nov. 2016.

2) Negro Who's Who in California, 1948 ed., accessible online at

3) Politique, "Ohioans to Take Straw Vote at Big Picnic: 20,000 Buckeyes Expected to Gather at Sycamore Park Next Saturday," Los Angeles Herald, 13 July 1920, p. 14.

4) Bertha L. Turner, et al. The Federation Cook Book: A Collection of Recipes by the Colored Women of California (Bedford, MA: Applewood Books, 1910).

5) "Seen or Heard in Society," Pittsburgh Courier, 13 Feb. 1926, p. 13.

6) "California Women Active in Politics," Pittsburgh Courier, 3 Apr. 1926, Woman's Page, p. 7.

7) Delilah L. Beasley, "Activities among Negroes," Oakland Tribune, 23 May 1926, p. 15.

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