Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890–1920
Biography of Lula Roberts Platt, 1863-1934
By Ashley Werlinich, Graduate Research Assistant, Research and Instructional Services, Wilson Special Collections Library, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Second President, Equal Suffrage Association (also called Equal Suffrage League) of North Carolina ; President, local Suffrage League of Asheville (four terms)
Lula Roberts Platt was born in Buncombe County, North Carolina on October 14, 1863 to G.M. Roberts and Elizabeth Ann Roberts (née Ray). Her family was well established in Asheville at the time of her birth; she was among the seventh generation of the Roberts family to live in Buncombe county. In 1888 Lula married Charles Malcolm Platt, a lawyer who had moved to Asheville during an extended illness. Charles Malcolm Platt died in 1895, just 7 years after their marriage. She stayed in Asheville after her husband's death, remaining there until her death on December 27, 1934.
Prior to her marriage, Platt pursued her higher education. She attended the Asheville Female College and later went on to take courses at the Pennington Seminary and Cornell University. Following her husband's death, she became the manager of The Manor—a popular Asheville hotel—when it opened in 1899. She was also a central member of many local women's clubs including the Daughters of the American Revolution, the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and the Asheville Library association. Platt had a great passion for the arts and served as the state chairman of drama for the Federation of Women's Clubs.
Platt was a major figure in the North Carolina woman suffrage movement in the early years of the twentieth century. She was one of the founding members of the Asheville Suffrage League when it was formed in 1913 and served four terms as the organization's president. In October of 1915, she became President of the Equal Suffrage Association of North Carolina at the association's Second Annual Convention. She was also named a “soldier of suffrage” by the National American Woman Suffrage Association in 1922.
After the suffrage movement Platt remained politically active—she ws the first woman to canvass for the Democratic Party in the tenth district and spoke in many public forums on the importance of women's voting. She was just as outspoken in print media as she was in person; in 1920 she even went so far as to reprimand vice president-elect Calvin Coolidge for his statement that southern democrats “voted one way and prayed another.” Platt was one of the first female delegates to the North Carolina Democratic Convention, and in 1922 she became the first woman to run for a seat in the North Carolina State Senate. Although she did not win the senate race that year, nor again in 1924. Lula remained a prominent figure in Asheville until her death in 1934, leading letter writing campaigns and hosting charity dinners for various causes out of her Asheville home.
“Anti-Jewish Terrors Bring Protest Here.” The Asheville-Citizen Times, 1 July 1933, https://www.newspapers.com/image/196242527.
“The Albemarle Park Co. Announce the Opening on January 1 of ‘The Manor.'” The Asheville Citizen-Times, 11 Feb. 1899, https://www.newspapers.com/image/73336379.
“Asheville Items Cor. of the News and Observer.” News and Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina), 20 May 1888, https://www.newspapers.com/image/76406908.
“The Asheville Library.” The Asheville Citizen-Times, 27 Sept. 1887, https://www.newspapers.com/image/59341569.
“Charles Malcolm Platt.” The Asheville Citizen-Times, 5 Aug. 1895, http://citizen-times.newspapers.com/image/195491201.
“League of Women Voters to Meet Tomorrow Night.” The Asheville Citizen-Times, 7 Sept. 1922, https://www.newspapers.com/image/76879303.
“Many Women at Big Meeting Last Night.” The Asheville Citizen-Times, 19 Oct. 1920, https://www.newspapers.com/image/196292342.
“Mrs. C.M. Platt Will Enter Race for N.C. Senate.” The Asheville Citizen-Times, 22 Jan. 1922, http://citizen-times.newspapers.com/image/76796482.
“Mrs. Charles M Platt, First Woman to Seek Democratic Nomination as State Senator.” The Asheville Citizen-Times, 10 Feb. 1922, https://www.newspapers.com/image/194659096.
“Mrs. Platt Is Honored by Charlotte Friends.” The Asheville Citizen-Times, 19 Oct. 1922, https://www.newspapers.com/image/199760539.
“Mrs. Platt Replies to Gov. Coolidge.” The Asheville Citizen-Times, 8 Dec. 1920, http://citizen-times.newspapers.com/image/196373501.
“Mrs. Platt to Give O. Henry Dinner Monday.” The Asheville Citizen-Times, 07 Sep. 1922, https://www.newspapers.com/image/200126887.
“Name Delegates From Precincts to County Meet.” Asheville Citizen-Times, 6 Apr. 1924, https://www.newspapers.com/image/195468684.
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 . Jones-Stone Printing Co., 1916. Documenting the American South. 2001. University Library, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 8 June 2019. https://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/suffrage/suffrage.html
Patterson, Hannah J., editor. The Hand Book of the National American Woman Suffrage Association and Proceedings of the Forty-Eighth Annual Convention Held at Atlantic City, N.J. September 4-10 (Inclusive). National Woman Suffrage Publishing Company, Inc, 1916. https://books.google.com/books?id=Z0ovAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false