Rosetta Larue Sands


Biographical Database of Black Woman Suffragists

Biographical Sketch of Rosetta Larue Sands, 1895-1966

By: Kimberly Hodges, Graduate student, Syracuse University

Miss (Rosetta) LeRue (or Larue) Sand(s) was born in Nassau, British West Indies on July 10, 1895 to Susan Sands and an unknown father. Susan Sands was born around 1865 in Nassau and worked as a housekeeper. LeRue arrived in New York City on the Seguranca on October 3, 1909. Not much is known of her early life, but the 1940 United States Federal Census indicates that her highest level of completed education was high school.

Sand was a member of the Colored Women's Suffrage Club of New York City, an affiliate of the New York City Woman Suffrage Party. The Club was located at 2285 Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Along with fellow members Mrs. Anne K. Lewis, Mrs. Mary M. Sharperson Young, Mrs. Helen Christian, Mrs. Ella Cunningham, and Mrs. Lizzie B. Sims, Sand attended a suffrage convention in Saratoga from August 29 - 30, 1917. While Anne K. Lewis, president of the Colored Women's Suffrage Club of New York City, praised the convention for showcasing the “strength and importance of the woman suffrage movement in New York State,” other members dissented from this positive portrayal. This dissent included criticism from Mary M. Sharperson Young who noted white women's “discriminatory treatment” towards black women at the meeting. Lewis invited white suffragists Anne Watkins and Annie Matthews to attend a special meeting by the Club to discuss the matter. While it is unknown if Sand attended this specific meeting, the majority of Club members agreed that black women shared equal status with white women in “the New York suffrage organization.”

Besides her activism, census records indicate that Sand held a variety of occupations during her lifetime. Her jobs included clerical worker, x-ray technician, maid, “social investigator,” and custodian. This variety of occupations within a twenty-year period suggest it was difficult for Sand to obtain stable work. She never married and resided in New York City.

Sand died in New York City in December 1966.


Gallagher, Julie A. Black Women and Politics in New York City. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2012.

Goodier, Susan and Karen Pastorello. Women Will Vote: Winning Suffrage in New York State. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2017.

Lemen, Emily. Biographical Sketch of Helen E. Christian, 1879-1930. [LINK to sketch here in WASM]

“Colored Women Attend Suffragette Meeting,” New York Age, September 6, 1917.

New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 40; Assembly District: 22; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 26

Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920. (NARA microfilm publication T625, 2076 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C. Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 21, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1224; Page: 19B; Enumeration District: 1441

The National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, D.C.; Petitions for Naturalization from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1897-1944; Series: M1972; Roll: 939

Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Number: 059-12-8834; Issue State: New York; Issue Date: Before 1951

United States Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls. Year: 1930; Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 1000; FHL microfilm: 2341311

United States Bureau of the Census. Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1940. T627, 4,643 rolls. Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02665; Page: 19B; Enumeration District: 31-1718


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