Biographical Database of Black Women Suffragists

Biographical Sketch of Anna Laura Lindsay, 1876-1961


By Linda D. Wilson, Independent Historian

African American Anna Laura Lindsay, the daughter of Amanda Theodosia (Greene) and Cassius M. Clay Lindsay, was born on November 14, 1876, in Lexington, Kentucky. Her parents were also born in Kentucky. According to the 1940 federal census Anna L. Lindsay had at least five years of post-secondary education. In 1893 she graduated from Chandler Normal School in Lexington. Furthering her education, she graduated from Fisk University's normal school in 1897 and its music school in 1898. Lindsay earned a bachelor's degree in 1927 and a master's degree in music education in 1928 from the Teachers College at Columbia University.

Prior to her career at Virginia Normal and Industrial Institute (VNII), she taught one year at Knox Institute, in Athens, Georgia. In 1899 Anna Lindsay became the first director of music at VNII (now Virginia State University). During the 1921-1922 school year, one hundred forty-one students graduated. Lindsay directed the institute's Glee Club (later known as Lindsay Treble Clef Club) that sang Negro spirituals at numerous concerts throughout Virginia. In March 1922 the choral group performed before the Virginia General Assembly.

Of significance Anna Lindsay was one of nine female faculty members from the Virginia Normal and Industrial Institute to vote in the November 1920 election. They were among some of the first African American women who voted after the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that granted women the right to vote. To secure their ballot, they had previously registered to vote and paid a poll tax of $1.50.

Lindsay played the piano and sang solos at various functions. In September 1955, representing the institute, Lindsay spoke at the "‘Ladies' Day'" at the First Baptist Church in Petersburg, Virginia. In December 1957 she hosted the monthly meeting of the Women's Council of Petersburg.

In November 1959 Lindsay was honored by a concert at the Virginia State College. Anna Laura Lindsay never married. She died of coronary heart disease at the Petersburg General Hospital on November 11, 1961. She was buried in the Blandford Cemetery in Petersburg. Her parents preceded her in death. C. M. Clay

Lindsay died on May 25, 1904, and Amanda T. Lindsay died on October 2, 1904. Her parents were buried in African Cemetery Number 2 in Lexington, Kentucky.


Frank Lincoln Mather, ed. Who's Who of the Colored Race: A General Biographical Dictionary of Men and Women of African Descent Vol. 1 (Chicago, IL: 1915).

New York Age (New York City), March 11 and June 24, 1922; April 25, 1925; January 4, 1936.

Progress-Index (Petersburg, VA), September 18, 1955; February 18 and December 15, 1957; February 16, 1958; November 22 and 29, 1959.

Richmond (VA) Planet, June 3, 1922.

Richmond (VA) Times Dispatch, May 12, 1944; May 18, 1947.

Brent Tarter, Marianne E. Julienne and Barbara C. Batson, The Campaign for Woman Suffrage in Virginia (Charleston, SC: History Press, 2020), 48-49 and 147.

The Crisis, 23, No. 6 (April 1922): 272.

Times Dispatch (Richmond, VA), November 23, 1959.

U.S. Census, 1880, Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky.

U.S. Census, 1920 and 1930, Matoaca, Chesterfield County, Virginia.

U.S. Census, 1940, Ettricks, Chesterfield County, Virginia.

U.S., Find a Grave Index, 1600s-Current, for Amanda T. and C. M. Clay Lindsay, accessed through on June 24, 2022.

U.S., Find a Grave Index, 1600s-Current, for Anna Laura Lindsay.

U.S., Freedmen's Bank Records, 1865-1874, for Clay Lindsay, database, FamilySearch accessed on June 24, 2022.

Virginia Death Certificate, for Anna Laura Lindsay, accessed through on June 24, 2022.

Virginia, U.S., Death Records, 1912-2014, for Anna Laura Lindsay.


The First Colored Women Voters Club of Ettrick, 1920
E.S. DeCosta Papers, Special Collections and University Archives, Johnston Memorial
Library, Virginia State University.
Front row, from left to right, second from left, Anna Lindsay


Source: Progress-Index (Petersburg, VA), 29 November 1959, p. 19.


Source: Times Dispatch (Richmond, VA), 23 November 1959, p. 4.


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