Nannie Lucretia Nichols (Pieters)

Biographical Database of Black Women Suffragists

Biographical Sketch of Nannie Lucretia Nichols (Pieters), c. 1887-1968

By Andrew Forschler, Graduate Student, University of Maryland, College Park

Nannie Lucretia Nichols was born in Atlanta on September 6, (most likely) 1887. Both of her parents were born in Georgia. Her father was a carpenter. Her mother could not read or write. Her father could read, but could not write until late in life. She had four siblings: Howard, Meddie, Hattie, and Leroy.

Nannie Lucretia Nichols graduated from Atlanta University's normal course in 1906. She taught at Atlanta University's Oglethorpe School after graduating. The Oglethorpe School was a primary school operated by Atlanta University for future teachers to practice and observe teachers in the classroom. Nichols taught there from 1906-1908 and 1909-1915. She taught at a local kindergarten during the 1908-1909 school year. During this year, she attended the Fourteenth Annual Conference of Efforts for Social Betterment Among Negro Americans at Atlanta University with her class. Her class performed songs and showcased games and exercises at the conference. She later returned to Atlanta University in 1921-1922 to teach English and cooking.

Nichols began teaching at Virginia Normal and Industrial Institute in 1915. She taught teaching methods and practice as well as basketry. In 1918, she was the superintendent of the training school. While at the Institute, she became involved in the First Colored Women Voters Club of Ettrick, Virginia. The club consisted of Nichols and eight other Black women who worked at the Institute. Club members registered to vote after the ratification of the 19th Amendment and voted in the 1920 election.

In 1923, Nichols married Charles Elijah Pieters. Pieters was an immigrant from British Guiana. He was a math and biology teacher. After her marriage, Nichols adopted her husband's

last name and frequently went by her middle name. By 1925, Lucretia and Charles Pieters had moved to Columbus, Ohio.

Lucretia Pieters continued her education in Columbus at Ohio State University (OSU). She attended in the late 1920s and early 1930s. She earned Education and Master of Arts degrees. Her master's thesis, entitled "The Practical Application of Various Phases of Art in Pageantry" examined how pageantry could be used in schools. Pieters laid out how pageantry could help with vocational training, promoting happiness in students, boosting civic pride, teaching art and culture, and building character.

While at OSU, Pieters participated in multiple student organizations. Pieters was the director and set designer for the Ohio State Playmakers. The Playmakers focused on presenting Black theatre. Additionally, Pieters was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) sorority. In 1930, she chartered the Alpha Sigma Omega chapter of AKA.

Pieters continued to be involved with AKA throughout her life. In 1937, she helped welcome singer Etta Moten to Columbus with AKA. She helped host brunches and receptions for visiting sorors. She celebrated Founder's Day in 1954 and 1955. When the Alpha Sigma Omega chapter celebrated its 25th anniversary in 1955, Pieters was awarded a diamond chip for her sorority pin for having been a member for 25 years and active for the last 10 years. The next year, she was in charge of decorations for the AKA Luau. In 1958, she attended an AKA convention in Washington with her husband.

Pieters was involved in other organizations in Columbus. She was a member of the Fortnightly Reading Club from the late 1930s through the late 1950s. The club was conceived as a space for Black women to study literature every other month. By the time Pieters became a member, the club met every month and added charity work to its study of literature. The club

was exclusive and was noted for its "genteel" environment. Pieters often served as an officer, including as president from 1954-1957. Additionally, she was a member of the Pierrian Coterie Club, a Black women's social club. Pieters occasionally participated in Tuskegee Club activities with her husband as well. The Tuskegee Club was composed of alumni of Tuskegee University. She wrote a letter to the Cleveland Call and Post on behalf of the club, praising their coverage of a local science fair.

Pieters was involved in celebrations of Black art in Columbus. In 1937, she served on the committee for a show entitled "Negro Art in Columbus." Additionally, Pieters was on the Fine Arts Committee for the 26th Convention of the Association of the Study of Negro Life and History held in Columbus in 1941.

Pieters continued to teach in Columbus. From 1943 to 1958 she worked for the Columbus Recreation Department, teaching and supervising preschool and kindergarten and hosting summer activities for children. In addition, Pieters participated in the Mothers' Club of Beatty Center and was selected as the parliamentarian of the club in 1944.

While Pieters did not have any children, her niece Ethel Waddell, lived with her and her husband occasionally in the 1940s.

Pieters passed away on November 7, 1968, in Columbus, two months after her husband died. A memorial service was held for her by AKA. She was buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Columbus. In 1970, a donation was made to Atlanta University in her name.

Sources:

Adams, Myron W., ed. General Catalogue of Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia: 1867-1918. Atlanta: Atlanta University Press, 1918.

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Ancestryheritagequest.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Census Place: Atlanta Ward 4, Fulton, Georgia; Roll: T624_191; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 0072; FHL microfilm: 1374204 Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.

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