Biographical Database of Black Women Suffragists

Biographical Sketch of Annie E. Hitchens, 1873-1949

By Elizabeth A. Novara, PhD Candidate, University of Maryland, College Park

Anne "Annie" Elizabeth Tucker was born circa 1873 in Norfolk, Virginia, to J. Tucker and Sarah Tucker (?-1928). After the death of her father, her mother later married Randolph Green. Annie attended public schools in Norfolk, graduated from Norfolk Mission College, a privately funded school for African American students, and became a public school teacher. As a member of the First Baptist Church of Norfolk, she held many volunteer positions in the church, including financial secretary, Sunday school teacher, choir member, and member of the missionary circle. Annie was a charter member of both the Norfolk Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) and the Virginia Federation of Colored Women's Clubs. As one of the first secretaries of the Virginia Federation, Annie knew and worked with Janie Porter Barrett, who served as president of the federation for twenty-five years and spearheaded such initiatives as founding the Virginia Industrial School for Girls.

After her marriage to John L. Hitchens (1847-192?) in 1914, Baltimore became the center of Annie's activism for the next thirty-five years, but she continued to maintain strong ties to her roots in Norfolk. Annie became a member of First Baptist Church of Baltimore and participated in church volunteer groups including the Women's Missionary Circle. In addition, she was a member and held positions in many local community clubs and organizations including, for example, the Home Defender's Association, a temperance organization; the Neighborhood Club; the DuBois Circle; the YWCA; and the Baltimore Branch of the NAACP. In 1922, she served as the head of the Druid Hill Branch of the YWCA. Annie was also a president of the Provident Hospital Aid Society, which was later named the Annie E. Hitchens Provident Aid Society.

Her family ties, her work as an educator, her reputation as a public speaker, and her service to these numerous community groups brought her in contact with other African American women engaged in supporting universal suffrage, including women's suffrage. In February 1921, Annie along with fellow suffragist Edna Reid, represented the Baltimore branch of the NAACP as part of a delegation of approximately sixty African American women from twenty states who confronted National Woman's Party (NWP) leader Alice Paul on the issue of disfranchisement of black women in the South after the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment.

Continuously interested in improving African American education and opportunities, Annie, along with others, sent a petition in 1924 to the Maryland General Assembly advocating for the education of African American youth at the House of Reformation for Colored Boys at Cheltenham in Prince George's County, Maryland. She remained active and well-known in African American communities in Virginia and Maryland until her death in 1949. Annie died in Philadelphia at the University of Philadelphia hospital after being ill for several months and living at the home of her niece, Lucille Jenkins. She was survived by one sister, Ruth E. Green of Norfolk, and many nieces and nephews; and was laid to rest in Arbutus Cemetery, Baltimore. During her life of impact and activism, she was known to many, especially her students, as "Miss Annie."


General sources include the U.S. Census, the Virginia Bureau of Vital Statistics, County Marriage Registers, and Find-A-Grave cemetery records, all accessed via

Other sources include:

Maryland General Assembly, Journal of the Proceedings of the Senate of Maryland, JanuarySession, Annapolis: King Brothers, 1924 (page 124).

NAACP Records, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress.

Scott, Anne Firor. "Janie Aurora Porter Barrett (1865-1948)," Dictionary of Virginia Biography, Library of Virginia (1998- ), published 1998, rev. 2021;, accessed September 18, 2022.

Newspaper sources include the following articles from the Baltimore Afro-American and the Norfolk Journal and Guide in chronological order:

"Successful Meeting of Equitable Association," Baltimore Afro-American, May 6, 1916.

"A Temperance Meeting," Baltimore Afro-American, September 9, 1916.

"Mrs. John Hitchens: Now Heads Y.W.C.A.," Baltimore Afro-American, January 20, 1922.

Bowling, Richard H. "The Guide Post: ‘Miss Annie,'" Norfolk Journal and Guide, October 9, 1937.

"Pioneer Charter Members at Meeting of State Federation of Women's Clubs," Norfolk Journal and Guide, July 19, 1947.

"Mrs. Annie Tucker Hitchens Buried; Taught in Norfolk," Norfolk Journal and Guide, September 24, 1949.

"Mrs. Hitchens Laid to Rest," Baltimore Afro-American, October 1, 1949.

"Mrs. Hitchens Wills $1,400 to Norfolk Institutions," Norfolk Journal and Guide, October 7, 1950.

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