Susie Douglass Pinn Madden

 

Biographical Database of Black Women Suffragists

Biographical Sketch of Susie Douglass Pinn Madden, 1868-1944

By Thomas Dublin, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Binghamton University

Susie Douglass was born in Alexandria, VA in 1868, the second of four children of William and Eliza Douglass. Her father was employed as a carpenter and caulker according to the 1870 and 1880 censuses of Alexandria. Susie attended the Hallowell (Colored) School in Alexandria, which opened in 1867, funded initially by the Freedmen's Bureau. She completed four years of college, and served as a teacher in Alexandria public schools at least between 1900 and 1930. In 1889 she married Norman Pinn, also a teacher. The couple had two children, Madeline, born in 1890, and Alma, born in 1892. Norman Pinn also edited The Clipper, a weekly paper, before his untimely death from consumption at the age of 31 in 1895.

Education was very important to Susie Pinn. Her older daughter completed college, married a doctor and during her marriage worked as a hospital superintendent and a doctor's assistant. Her younger daughter, Alma, completed high school and, like her parents, was a teacher in Alexandria.

Susie Pinn did marry again, to Samuel W. Madden, probably in 1919 or 1920. Samuel had attended college for three years and was a teacher. The 1920 census recorded that Samuel had five children by an earlier marriage. In 1920 and 1921, Susie Madden was active as the financial secretary of the Hallowell School alumni association in Alexandria and contributed $5 to a fund to purchase seats for the auditorium of the newly-constructed colored Parker-Gray School. She continued to teach in Alexandria as late as 1930 as did her husband Samuel.

A photo survives of the first faculty of Parker-Gray, when the school opened in 1920. Two of the teachers, identified as Susie Madden and Mayme Anderson, were part of a delegation in February 1921 of 60 Black women suffragists, who protested violations of the recently ratified 19th Amendment in Southern states that denied Black women their voting rights. The delegation, headed by the NAACP field secretary, Addie W. Hunton, met with Alice Paul, head of the National Woman's Party (NWP) on the eve of the party's national convention. Their purpose was to press the NWP to pass a resolution calling on Congress to investigate the failures of Southern states to enforce the 19th Amendment for Black women. Paul made no such commitment and the convention as a whole refused to endorse the call.

Susie Pinn Madden was definitely a member of Alexandria's black elite. In 1901, Susie Pinn was listed among guests who attended the anniversary fete of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Avon Dorsey. The announcement of the event in The Colored American noted, "The social, elite and the business and professional circles of Alexandria and Washington were well represented." Pinn's marriage to Samuel Madden further reinforced her status. The couple was very prosperous, living in 1930 and 1940 on West St. in Alexandria in a home valued at $10,000.

Susie and Samuel Madden resided in Alexandria into the 1940s, still on West. St. Neither was recorded as working in the 1940 census. Susie passed away in February, 1944 and Samuel died nine months later.

Sources:

Federal Manuscript Censuses, Alexandria, VA, 1870-1940 for the Douglass, Pinn, and Madden families. Also Madeline Rogers and Alma Murray. Accessed in Ancestry Library edition.

Virginia Marriage and death records, accessed in Ancestry Library edition.

Madeline Pinn and Clarence Rogers, 5 May 1923

Death, Norman B. Pinn, 29 Aug. 1895

Death Susie P. Madden, 9 Feb. 1944

Death, Samuel W. Madden, 23 Nov. 1944

Find-a-Grave death records for Samuel and Susie Madden, accessed in Ancestry Library edition.

"'Twas Eight Years," The Colored American, 18 May 1901, p. 9.

List of NAACP Delegation Members to Alice Paul, 12 February 2021,

NAACP Papers, Part 04 Voting Rights and Voting Rights Campaign, 1916-1950 (Feb. 8, 1921-April 3, 1921), frames 61-64, Library of Congress.

"Hallowell School—1893 Teachers' Census," accessed at https://theotheralexandria.com/tag/black-girls-school/.

Newspaper articles accessed on newspapers.com:

"Ready for School Year," Alexandria Gazette, 8 August 1913, p. 2.

"City School Board Meets Last Night," Alexandria Gazette, 3 July 1914, p. 1.

"More Contributions," Alexandria Gazette, 21 June 1920, p. 4.

"Parker-Gray School," Alexandria Gazette, 16 April 1921, p. 3.

"The First Parker-Gray School," includes a photo of the ten teachers (including suffragists Susie Madden and Mayme Anderson) and the principal at the school's opening in 1920. Accessed online at https://www.alexandriava.gov/sites/default/files/2021-12/Trail-Sign-First-Parker-Gray-School.pdf

 

Mayme Anderson is at the far left in the second row and Susie Madden is second from the right in that row. Accessible at https://theotheralexandria.com/2011/10/30/1920-parker-gray-class/.

 

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