Biographical Database of Black Women Suffragists

Biography of Charlotte Nesbitt, 1858-

Nicole Padilla, Undergraduate Student, SUNY Oneonta and Thomas Dublin, SUNY Binghamton

Charlotte was born in South Carolina in 1858, and a likely census link in 1880 finds her living with her parents, Doctor and Eliza Nesbitt, in Steerpen, SC. She is recorded as an 18-year old laborer, while her father is a farmer and her mother a housekeeper. Charlotte Nesbitt migrated north and the earliest link we get to her in Brooklyn is in 1892 as a participant in a sewing circle. In the 1900 census she was living as a servant in a white Brooklyn household. By 1920 she continued to live in Brooklyn, now heading her own household including a niece and two boarders. She worked as a laundress in her own home at that date. Her marital status is uncertain, being recorded as widowed in 1900 but married in 1920, with no name change in between. Charlotte Nesbitt taught Sunday school and was a deaconess in the Concord Baptist Church in Brooklyn. She was also active in sewing circles and choral clubs.

Nesbitt served as vice-president of the local branch of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union in 1905-1906. A newspaper account in April 1910 noted that she served as the treasurer of the Woman's Auxiliary in Brooklyn. In July 1913 she served as a delegate from her local Colored Woman's Club to the annual meeting of the Empire State Federation of Women's Clubs held in Buffalo, where the organization took a strong stand on woman suffrage.

There is no likely census link for Charlotte in 1930 and her date of death is unknown at this time.


"U.C. Club Sewing Circle," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, November 27, 1892, 7; "The Woman's Choral Club," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, April 17, 1900, 2; "Concord's Liberality," New York Age, October 26, 1905, 8; "Concord Baptist Church," New York Age, February 22, 1906, 4; New York Age, April 14, 1910, p. 1; New York Age, July 10, 1913, p. 1; New York Age, Oct. 29, 1918, p. 8; New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 15; Assembly District: 10; City: New York; County: Kings, 10.

Federal manuscript census for Steerpen, South Carolina, 1880; Brooklyn, NY, 1900 and 1920, accessing online through


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