Elizabeth Beatrice Cook "Lizzie" Fouse


Biographical Database of Black Women Suffragists

Biography of Elizabeth Beatrice Cook "Lizzie" Fouse, 1875-1952


By Karen Cotton McDaniel, Ph.D.

Educator, clubwoman, and activist

Born in Lancaster, Kentucky, on May 14, 1875, Elizabeth Beatrice Cook was the daughter of William and Mary (Kennedy) Cook. Affectionately known as Lizzie, she attended both State Colored Baptist University (currently named Simmons College of Kentucky) and Eckstein Norton Institute in Cane Springs, Kentucky. After graduation, she taught at Lexington's Constitution Street School and joined the National Teachers Association and the Kentucky Negro Education Association (KNEA).

On August 10, 1898, Lizzie married William Henry Fouse, a teacher in the Colored High School in Corydon, Indiana. She joined him as a teacher in that school system until 1904, when she quit teaching, dedicated her time to community activism, and participated in a myriad of organizations. Although she was living in Indiana, Fouse continued her membership in Kentucky groups such as the Baptist Women's Education Convention and became a charter member of the Kentucky Association of Colored Women's Clubs (KACW) in 1903. In 1908, the Fouses moved to Covington and Lizzie joined both the Ladies Improvement and the Ladies Union clubs, both of which were KACW groups. Prior to returning to Lexington in 1913, she was elected as the president of KACW and launched the Scholarship Loan Program to assist black students with college funding.

On the national level, beginning in 1914, Fouse held a variety of offices in the National Association of Colored Women (NACW). Many of her organizational commitments were with interracial groups such as the United Council of Church Women, the Southern Regional Council, and the Kentucky Commission on Negro Affairs.

In addition to women's clubs, Fouse was an active member of the First Baptist Church for which she purchased an organ. When the Lexington branch of the NAACP was established in 1919, the Fouses were among the one hundred charter members and Lizzie was elected as corresponding secretary. Fouse always encouraged black women to work for political causes through her involvement in the Colored Women's League of Voters. She was among the founders of Lexington's Phyllis Wheatley Y.W.C.A. in 1920. She also served as the chair of the City Federation of Women's Clubs in Lexington, which protested police mistreatment of black citizens such as Gertrude Boulder.

Internationally, Fouse served as a delegate to the 1933 International Congress of Women which convened in Chicago. She represented the United States in England and Ireland at Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) meetings in 1947, where she was the guest speaker at a banquet in Belfast Castle, Ireland.

Fouse died on October 22, 1952, and was buried at the Greenwood Cemetery (later named Cove Haven Cemetery) in Lexington. In 1953, her work was recognized through the L. B. Fouse Civic Center in Covington.


Fouse Family Papers, Special Collections, M. I. King Library. Lexington: University of Kentucky Libraries, 1998.

"Lizzie Beatrice Fouse." In Who's Who in ColoredAmerica: An Illustrated Biographical Directory of Notable Living Persons of African Descent in the United States edited by James G. Fleming and Christian E. Burckel. Yonkers, NY: Burckel & Assoc., 1950.

McDaniel, Karen Cotton. "Altruistic Activism: The Life Work of Elizabeth ‘Lizzie' Fouse." In Kentucky Women: Their Lives and Times, edited by Melissa A. McEuen and Thomas H. Appleton. Athens: University of Georgia Press, under contract.

Williams, Lillian Serece, and Randolph Boehm. Records of the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs, 1895-1992. Bethesda, MD: University Publications of America, 1993.


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