Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Marion Bankston Trotter, 1872-1956
By Sophie Sumpter, student, Coastal Carolina University, Conway, South Carolina
President of the Mississippi Woman Suffrage Association
Marion Bankston was born on Christmas morning, December 25, 1872 in Winona, Mississippi. She was later married to Benjamin Hudson Trotter and became Marion Bankston Trotter. Benjamin Hudson Trotter was from West Point, Clay, Mississippi and was born in 1860 to William Edmonson Trotter and Sarah Adeline Moore. Benjamin had three children, Genevieve Trotter, Ida Lee Trotter, and Hudson Trotter, from a previous marriage to Ida Lee Trotter.
At a one-day conference in Jackson, Mississippi, in April 1918, Marion Bankston Trotter became the President of the Mississippi Woman Suffrage Association. The Mississippi Woman Suffrage Association was founded by Belle Kearney and Nellie Nugent Somerville in 1897 and was exclusively headed by upper-class white women. There were divisions among the group's leadership throughout its time of activity. In 1918, a letter from the President of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, Carrie Chapman Catt, circulated, along with a letter from Marion B. Trotter, President of the Mississippi Woman Suffrage Association. In the letter, Marion Bankston Trotter encouraged individual members to make efforts to promote suffrage and worried that women's suffrage was being overshadowed by the war effort. She appealed to democratic values by claiming that the fight for suffrage was equal to a fight for democracy. She attempted to mobilize all citizens, not just wealthy white women, by her proclamation that “those who fight for the rights of others should enjoy those rights themselves.” She was also aware of how German papers would not acknowledge British or American enfranchisement of its citizens, and called on women to make suffrage their weapon against the Kaiser.
Marion Bankston Trotter died on July 2, 1956.
"President's Letter." Mississippi Woman Suffrage Association. Accessed
November 14, 2017. http://clio.lib.olemiss.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/suffrage/id/287/rec/5.
"Definitions." Mississippi Women and the Woman Suffrage Amendment | Mississippi History Now. Accessed November 29, 2017. http://www.mshistorynow.mdah.ms.gov/articles/245/mississippi-women-and-the-woman-suffrage-amendment.
Ida Husted Harper, et al., eds. “History of Woman Suffrage.” [LINK]