Annie Walker Blackwell

Biographical Database of Black Women Suffragists

Biography of Annie Walker Blackwell, 1862-1922

By Linda D. Wilson, Independent Historian

African American suffrage proponent Annie Walker Blackwell was born on August 21, 1862, in Chester, South Carolina. She was the daughter of Reverend Dublin Isaiah and Mathilda Potts Walker. Annie Walker graduated from Scotia Seminary in Concord, North Carolina, in 1876 and briefly attended Temple College in Philadelphia. On December 7, 1887, she married Reverend George Lincoln Blackwell, a bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AMEZ) Church. They had two children; both died young.

When the couple lived in Charlotte, North Carolina, Annie Blackwell was a teacher and a missionary. By 1910 they had moved to Philadelphia. Circa 1910 she wrote a pamphlet entitled The Responsibility and Opportunity of the Twentieth Century Woman, in which she espoused her views on suffrage. Although she favored suffrage, she believed that African American women would continue to be disfranchised as long as white women continued to discriminate against them. Blackwell believed that white children should be taught to respect all women, regardless of their race.

Active in civic and sectarian organizations, Annie Blackwell served as president of the staff auxiliary of the Frederick Douglass Memorial Hospital in Philadelphia. She was chair of the membership committee of the Color Women's Christian Association. Blackwell was the national secretary of the Woman's Home and Foreign Missionary Society of the AMEZ church in Philadelphia. Under the auspices of the local church's missionary auxiliary, she gave lectures. Blackwell published a hymnal entitled The Missionary Call in 1911 in Philadelphia. Additionally, she edited the women's column of the Star of Zion, the church newspaper, and edited the Woman's Christian Temperance Union Tidings.

While caring for her ill husband, Annie Blackwell died on December 7, 1922 (their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary), in Philadelphia. Her husband George Lincoln Walker died in Philadelphia on March 20, 1926. Both are buried in Eden Cemetery, Collingdale, Pennsylvania.


June Melby Benowitz, "Annie Walker Blackwell," in Encyclopedia of American Women and Religion (2d ed., Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2017). Good News (Women's Home and Overseas Missionary Society [bulletin]) 32:9 (November 2017), 14, accessed on line on July 10. 2019. website accessed July 10, 2019. Indianapolis (Indianapolis, IN) Star, September 24, 1911. Frank Lincoln Mather, ed., "Annie Walker Blackwell," in Who's Who of the Colored Race: A General Biographical Dictionary of Men and Women of African Descent, Vol. 1 (Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1915). J. Gordon Melton, ed., et. al., "Annie Walker Blackwell," in Religious Leaders of America (Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group, 1999). Michele Mitchell, Righteous Propagation: African Americans and the Politics of Racial Destiny after Reconstruction (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 2004). Larry G. Murphy, ed., et. al., "Annie Walker Blackwell," in Encyclopedia of African American Religions (NY: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1993).

Passport Application for Annie Walker Blackwell, accessed on Pennsylvania Death Certificates for Annie W. Blackwell and George L. Blackwell, accessed on Rosalyn Terborg-Penn, African American Women in the Struggle for the Vote, 1850-1920 (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1998). Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, PA), April 3, 1926. U.S. Census, 1870, East Chester Township, Chester County, South Carolina. U.S. Census, 1880, Chester, Chester County, South Carolina. U.S. Census, 1900, Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. U.S. Census, 1910 and 1920, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. U.S., Find A Grave for Annie W. Blackwell and George Lincoln Blackwell, accessed on William J. Walls, The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church: Reality of the Black Church (Charlotte, NC: A.M.E. Zion Publishing House, 1974. York Daily (York, PA), August 3, 1907.

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