Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Barbara Bynum Henderson, 1880-1955

By Samuel Hartman, teacher, Dr. Simone Caron, and Amanda Foster, librarian,
Wake Forest University, Winston Salem, North Carolina.

President, Asheville, NC, Equal Suffrage Association.

Barbara Bynum Henderson was born on December 12, 1880, into an Episcopalian family who helped shape her discipline and tenacious work ethic. The family's socio-economic status enabled her to graduate St. Mary's College in 1899. She earned her Master's degree at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in 1902. After Graduate School, she married Archibald Henderson in 1903, and gave birth to five children. Archibald Henderson was a faculty member at the University of North Carolina. His job brought economic stability within the Henderson household, enabling Barbara Henderson to fight for the equal rights of women. Barbara Henderson died from an illness in 1955.

Henderson was elected President to the Equal Suffrage Association of North Carolina in 1913. She was unanimously re-elected president for a second term in 1915. This Association met regularly to discuss and vote on policies that they then presented to the state legislature. Her highly regarded poem March of Women in 1915 paved a new way for women to visualize their equal rights in society. This poem advocated equality for not just women but for the rights of all people regardless of all age, gender, race, nationality, sexual orientation, and physical ability. Henderson fought hard to achieve women's equality. She gained enough respect in North Carolina to state her opinions on women's suffrage in front of the House and Senate of North Carolina on February 2, 1915. Henderson spoke out as the united voice of the Equal Suffrage Association. She tenaciously argued for women's equal right to vote by attempting to get the House and Senate of North Carolina to pass the 19th Amendment.

Although she failed to get the 19th amendment passed locally by the North Carolina House and Senate in 1915, her actions paved the way for future women activists. In addition to suffrage activity, Henderson fought to establish better education and working conditions for women.


Equal Suffrage Association of North Carolina, Proceedings of the Second Annual Convention of the Equal Suffrage Association of North Carolina Held at Battery Park Hotel Asheville, N. C. October, 29th, 1915. Accessed online at,. 04 Nov. 2016.

Carolyn Murray Happer, "Henderson, Barbara Bynum." NCpedia Home Page. N.p.,n.d. accessed online at, Oct. 2016.

A&E Television Networks, 2010. Web. 04 Nov. 2016; Kate Rauhauser-Smith, "History Makers: Barbara Bynum Henderson," Winston-Salem Journal, 30 May, Accessed online at, 25 Oct. 2016.

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