Biographical Database of Black Woman Suffragists

Biographical Sketch of Edna Walton, c.1884-1915

By Andrea S. Johnson
Assistant Professor of History, California State University, Dominguez Hills

Records indicate that Edna Walton was born in Tennessee in 1884 or 1885. Much of her early life cannot be traced, but it is evident that she sought out multiple opportunities for professional training. She attended Michigan State Normal College in Ypsilanti, Michigan, after which she moved to Little Rock, Arkansas, to work as a substitute teacher at the M. W. Gibbs High School, the school for black students in Little Rock. The Arkansas Gazette reported that she would have been employed permanently at the school for the 1914-1915 school year, but she decided to move to Chicago and seek out employment as a nurse, another occupation for which she had trained.

Edna Walton is noted as a member of the Alpha Suffrage Club in The Story of the Illinois Federation of Colored Women's Clubs, 1900-1922. No further information on her suffrage activism has been found.

Walton was killed in Chicago on July 13, 1915. She was shot by Arthur Pickens, described in some accounts as a "lover," while at her sister's residence on LaSalle St. Pickens shot himself and was expected to die but survived and in August was indicted by the grand jury. Walton's family held memorial services on July 17, 1915, at both the home of her uncle Hugh DeMarr and at the Zion Baptist Church of Dayton, Ohio. She was buried at the Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum there.


"Edna Walton," Dayton Daily Journal, July 17, 1915.

"Edna Walton," Dayton Daily Journal, July 18, 1915.

"Former Little Rock Negress Teacher Killed," Daily Arkansas Gazette, July 14, 1915.

"Year Book 1912-1913," Michigan State Normal College Bulletin, March 1913, vol II, no. 1, pg. 255.

U. S. Find a Grave Index, 1600s to Current, Provo, UT:, 2012.

Elizabeth Lindsay Davis, The Story of the Illinois Federation of Colored Women's Clubs (Chicago: no pub., 1922)


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