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Women's Suffrage

Women's suffrage is the right of women to vote in elections. Beginning in the mid-19th century, aside from the work being done by women for broad-based economic and political equality and for social reforms, women sought to change voting laws to allow them to vote.'s_suffrage

In partnership with Looking for Lilith Theatre Company.  These digitally hand drawn illustrations are created in loving memory of women who have dedicated their lives to achieve equality.  We Present to you, coloring pages by STIX : .

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Looking For Lilith Theatre Company

This summer is the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote!! Did you know that Louisville women worked along side national leaders like Ida B. Wells and Susan B Anthony to help get women the right to vote? Did you know the suffragists used both performing and visual arts in their movement for change? Join Looking for Lilith Theatre Company as we engage in the art forms of the movement to learn about our local suffragists. 

Women's suffrage Coloring Pages by Stix


Nannie Burroughs


Nannie Burroughs


Nugent Sisters

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Mary Virginia Cook Parish

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Mary Virginia Cook Parish

Coloring Pages $1.00ea  Download .PDF All Images 8.5" x 11


Looking for Lilith Theatre Company is a women’s ensemble that creates productions and programming through re-examining history and interrogating today from women’s perspectives, a practice that frequently uncovers unheard voices. LFL productions and programming serve adults, youth and children locally, nationally and internationally.

Mary Virginia Cook Parrish

Mary Virginia Cook was born near Bowling Green Kentucky where, despite a limited formal education, she was invited to teach in a private school, the Bowling Green Academy, because of her intellectual aptitude. She came to the attention of William Simmons and of the New England American Baptist Woman’s Hope Society, who supported her education, in New England and at Louisville’s State University. She graduated at the top of both her normal school in 1883 and of her college class in 1887, becoming principal of the normal school and teacher of Latin and Mathematics at State University. Mary Cook was active both locally and nationally. In 1893, she was elected recording secretary of the National Baptist Educational Convention and one of only two women who sat on its executive board, serving with twenty men. She was president of the Calvary Church King’s Daughters Missionary Society and helped to found the powerful Baptist Woman’s Convention in 1900; she became corresponding secretary for the convention, a post she held for forty-two years. She organized the first parent-teacher organization for parents of children in Louisville’s Colored Schools; helped, successfully, to petition for the city’s first African American playground; co-founded the Phillis Wheatley branch of the YWCA; helped to found the Kentucky Association of Colored Women; and served on numerous boards. She traveled the state widely and nationally as well, to raise money for State University. In 1892, Cook joined the faculty of Eckstein Norton Institute, a newly established industrial training school for African Americans in Bullitt County. In 1898 she married the president of Eckstein Norton, the Reverend Charles

H. Parrish. The couple had one child, Charles H. Parrish, Jr., who became the first African American faculty member at the previously all-white University of Louisville in 1951 when the University absorbed its segregated unit, Municipal College.

Mary Cook Parrish was acclaimed for her rhetorical skills. While still in her twenties, she was speaking nationally at the American National Baptist Convention (1887), at the National Press Convention (1887), and at the American Home Mission Society (1888). She was a member of the Executive Committee of the Colored Press Association and second Vice President of the Woman’s Congress, a precursor to the National Association of Colored Women (NACW). She served as an officer and statistician in the NACW, where, still a young woman, she was received so well by the audience at her first speech to this body that she was granted additional time to speak. She wrote for a variety of newspapers, often under the pen name Grace Ermine, in a variety of genres. By 1887 she was editing a column for The South Carolina Tribune and the Little Rock Sun, and representing these newspapers at the Colored Press Association. She also edited the woman’s column of the American Baptist and acted as education editor for the Baptist Our Women and Children

As was true of many of these women, Parrish developed fine business skills, lending her expertise to numerous organizations, including the National Association of Colored Women, where she served as statistician and treasurer; churches and institutions where her husband was pastor or president; the Urban League; and the YWCA. She became vice president of Domestic Life and Accident Insurance Company in Louisville. A mentor for Nannie Burroughs, who had lived with the Parishes for several years when she arrived in Louisville, Mary Parrish served on the Board of Burroughs’s National Training School, traveling to the school for special occasions, such as commencement exercises.

Parrish was active politically as well. In 1892 she joined a large group of black women in Frankfort to protest a proposed state law requiring African Americans to ride in segregated railway cars. Cook and Lavinia Sneed were two of the five women given time to speak before the General Assembly. She helped to organize and became the first president of the West End Colored Republican Women’s Club. Beginning in 1921 she served as GOP delegate to the local Republican party convention and was elected captain of the 8th ward; by at least 1932 she was serving as delegate to the State Republican Convention and alternate delegate to the Republican National Convention in Chicago. She helped to organize Republican rallies and spoke in support of Republican candidates. Her activism was not received well by local Democratic officials. In 1926, they charged that she and sixteen other women, including fellow suffragists Eliza Kellar and Lavinia Sneed, were paid by the Republican Party to influence the election; the Democrats tried to get election results thrown out. When questioned by officials at a hearing Democrats had demanded, Parrish openly admitted her service to the GOP in canvassing her neighborhood and encouraging those eligible to vote, which, of course, was legal. The election results stood.

A quotation from a young Mary Cook perhaps best exemplifies her dignified yet adamant reproof of whites for their treatment of African Americans: “White faces seem to think it their heaven-born right to practice civil war on negroes [sic], to the extent of blood-shed and death. They look upon the life of their brother in black as a bubble to be blown away at their pleasure. The same spirit that existed in the South twenty-four years ago, is still recognized in its posterity. The negro is still clothed in swarthy skin and he is still robbed of his rights as a citizen, made dear and fairly won to him by the death of those who fell in the late Rebellion. This outrage cannot endure.” (quoted in I. Garland Penn) Mary Parrish and her husband are buried side-by-side in Louisville Cemetery, with individual gravestones. Her son Charles Parrish, Jr. is also named on her stone.

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Coloring Pages $1.00ea

Download .PDF All Images 8.5" x 11

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Mary Virginia Cook Parrish

Nannie helen burroughs

Nannie H. Burroughs was a prominent African American civil rights activist and a continuing champion for women's rights. Burroughs's long career focused on improving educational opportunities for African-American women, an essential tool for improving black life. The founder of the National Trade and Professional School for Women and Girls in Deanwood in 1909, her legacy lives on in the name of the Nannie Helen Burroughs School in Northeast Washington. Urban Odyssey was a 1991 series produced by the Humanities Council of Washington, DC for DCTV Public Access Television.

**DISCLAIMER** While I thoroughly enjoyed the production of this Urban Odyssey, I was quite disturbed to witness the legacy of Nannie Helen Burroughs being reenacted by a light skinned woman. I, Alexis Stix Brown - am a light skinned woman and understand the importance of deeply melanated representation across the board in production.  A monumental barrier faced by Nannie Helen Burroughs was being overlooked time and again for teaching positions, although she possessed ALL necessary education to do so, due to her darker complexion.  In this video, that topic is ever so elegantly dismissed, as if she were simply passed over this opportunity because she was a woman of color.  She was passed over for these opportunities by light skinned women as well.  That fact is not addressed is this video because her memory is being reenacted by a light-skinned woman.  I made the tough decision to share the video regardless, because it does capture the essence of Nannie Helen Burroughs, in my opinion.  I do hope that this disclaimer readjust the focus of how much further we have to go when it comes to inclusion and respect past complexion and into the soul.  


Nannie Helen Burroughs (May 2, 1879 – May 20, 1961) was an African-American educator, orator, religious leader, civil rights activist, feminist, and businesswoman in the United States.[1] Her speech "How the Sisters Are Hindered from Helping," at the 1900 National Baptist Convention in Virginia, instantly won her fame and recognition. In 1909, she founded the National Training School for Women and Girls in Washington, DC. Burroughs' objective was at the point of intersection between race and gender. She fought both for equal rights in races as well as furthered opportunities for women beyond the simple duties of domestic housework.[2] She continued to work there until her death in 1961. In 1964, it was renamed the Nannie Helen Burroughs School in her honor and began operating as a co-ed elementary school.[3] Constructed in 1927–1928, its Trades Hall has a National Historic Landmark designation.

Burroughs opened the National Training School in 1908. In the first few years of being open, the school provided evening classes for women who had no other means for education. The classes were taught by Burroughs herself. There were 31 students who regularly attended her classes, however, after time, and due to the high level of teaching, the school began attracting more students.[16] The school was founded in a small farmhouse that eventually attracted women from all over the nation.[4] During the first 40 years of the 20th century, young African-American women were being prepared by the National Training School to "uplift the race" and obtain a livelihood.


The emphasis of the school was "the three B's: the Bible, the bath, and the broom".[16] Burroughs created her own history course that was dedicated to informing women about society influencing Negroes in history. Since this was not a topic that was discussed in regular historical curriculum, Burroughs found it necessary to teach African American women to be proud of their race.[16] With the incorporation of industrial education into training in morality, religion, and cleanliness, Nannie Helen Burroughs and her staff needed to resolve a conflict central to many African-American women. "Wage laborer" was their main role of the service occupations of the ghetto, as well as their biggest role model as guardians for "the race" of the community. The dominant culture of African Americans' immoral image had to be challenged by the National Training School, training African-American women from a young age to become efficient wage workers as well as community activists, reinforcing the ideal of respectability, as extremely important to "racial uplift."

Racial pride, respectability, and work ethic were all key

factors in training being offered by the

National Training School and racial uplift ideology.

These qualities were seen as extremely important for

African-American women's success as fund-raisers,

wage workers, and "race women". All these gathered

from the school would bring African-American women into

the labor of public sphere including politics, uplifting racial

aid, and the domestic sphere expanded. By understanding

the uplift ideology of its grassroots nature, Burroughs had

used it to promote her school.[17] Many disagreed with

Burroughs teaching women skills that did not directly apply

to domestic housework. None the less, students continued

coming and the school carried on. 

Information Provided By:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Burroughs holding Woman's National Baptist Convention banner.

The nugent sisters

Georgia Ann Nugent /  Nugent Sisters

The Nugent Sisters:  Georgia (circa 1872), Alice (1875), Ida (1880) and Mollie (1867)


Georgia A. Nugent, Alice Emma Nugent,

Mollie Nugent Williams, and Ida B. Nugent Paey

were daughters of George and Anna Foster Nugent,

who, according to census reports, were both illiterate.

George was a janitor most of his life, Anna a laundress.

This stands in stark contrast to the record of three

of their daughters, Georgia, Alice and Ida, who became

school teachers. All four Nugent children became leaders

in their communities. Alice, Georgia, and Mollie lived

together, with their parents, until their deaths.


The Nugents are typical of many Louisville

African American suffragists. Their parents were born

during slavery but worked hard to provide a better life for

their children. The three younger children were educated

in the Louisville colored schools and graduated from

Central High School, became teachers upon graduation,

and continued to accrue educational credentials.

Georgia and Alice attained degrees from both

State University [later Simmons] and

Kentucky Industrial College [later Kentucky State

University]. The family pooled its resources, all members

but Mollie, the eldest, working outside the

home, but even Mollie, who remained at home and

apparently cared for the home, was employed as a                         Unable to locate images of Mollie and Ida Nugent, 

dressmaker.  By 1920 the Nugents had moved next door               they are lovingly represented as framed silhouettes

to the Charles and Mary Parrish family and

remained neighbors for more than twenty years. By 1930, the Nugents owned their home, worth $7,000, their residence becoming a social hub for entertaining local African Americans as well as out-of-state dignitaries.



                                                        Georgia Anne Nugent (circa 1872-1940)

                                                        Teacher, Activist, Community Leader


                                                        Census reports and her death certificate give varying dates for Georgia 

                                                        Nugent’s birth. However, she graduated Louisville Central High School in1889, 

                                                        making 1872 the more likely date. She began teaching in the Louisville colored 

                                                        schools upon graduation. During the 1920s, she took extension courses through 

                                                        a variety of schools: Indiana State Normal School, Hampton Institute, and 

                                                        Chicago Normal. In 1930, she completed a B. A. at Simmons University and an 

                                                        additional B.A. at Kentucky State College in 1936. A teacher for more than forty-

                                                        eight years, she was employed at a number of Louisville schools, including

                                                        Lincoln Colored School and Jackson Street Colored Junior High. She taught                                                                Sunday School for more than fifty years. 


Georgia Nugent helped to organize the Woman’s Improvement Club in 1896 and served as both president and secretary. The Club, the earliest Louisville club to become affiliated with the National Association of Colored Women, worked on behalf of many efforts for African Americans: it initiated the first day- nursery in the city and introduced the city’s first volunteer probation work. The Club focused especially on kindergartens; Nugent sought to create a training class for African American women so that they could take charge of kindergartens for African American children. After efforts to create such a training school faltered because of inadequate funding, Nugent reached out to the white Louisville Free Kindergarten Association for help in training kindergarten teachers. The successful effort graduated six women in its first training class. The Club was later renamed the Georgia A. Nugent Improvement Club in her honor. 


Georgia Nugent was among those who formed the Kentucky Association of Colored Women’s Clubs in

1904 and served as both Secretary and President. In 1906, the state Association joined the National

Association of Colored Women (NACW).  Nugent, Mamie Steward, and Mary Cook Parrish had already

been prominent in the NACW; Nugent had a long tenure on the Resolutions Committee and served on

other committees as well. At every convention, the NACW had expressed its support for woman

suffrage, and/ or universal suffrage, to include both women and black men, as black men in the South

were often disfranchised. In 1904, at its St. Louis Convention, the organization unanimously amended the Suffrage Department to read, “That the Suffrage Plank/ Suffrage Department be organized under the

supervision of the National Association of Colored Women for the purpose of teaching our women the

principles of civil government, political economy, etc., that they may thus be prepared to become

intelligent voters and responsible citizens of the republic.” At the 1920 Tuskegee Convention, as Chair of

the NACW’s Executive Board, Nugent called for a Committee on Citizenship because “The ballot

without intelligence back of it is a menace instead of a blessing, and I like to believe that women are

accepting their recently granted citizenship with a sense of reverent responsibility.”  When the NACW

met in Louisville in 1911, Georgia Nugent made the general welcome.

Georgia Nugent also served as representative to the National Negro Business League and was a member of the Baptist Women’s Educational Convention. She was active in local efforts involving black high schools and charities devoted to the good of African Americans. 

                                                             Alice Emma Nugent (1876-1971)

                                                             Teacher, Musician, Church Worker, 

                                                             Alice Nugent, daughter of George and Anna Foster Nugent, graduated                                                                       Central High School in 1894, the speaker at her commencement in the 

                                                             Masonic Temple Theatre. She attended a variety of post-secondary

                                                             institutions: Louisville Municipal College; Northwestern School of Music;     

                                                             Bouregard College of Music, where she studied piano; Hampton Institute; 

                                                             and Indiana University. She graduated from Simmons University with an A.B.   

                                                             in 1930, and from Kentucky State, also with an A.B. in 1936. Alice Nugent

                                                             taught in the Louisville colored schools, primarily at Paul Dunbar High 

                                                             School. Although she applied to become principal and served more than     

                                                             once as interim principal, she never achieved that goal. She retired in 1946.

                                                             A scholarship in her name, the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Louisville Alumni

                                                             Chapter Alice Nugent Scholarship, continues to be awarded.


                                                             Alice Nugent was active in many church and civic organizations, choosing to 

                                                             take a less visible role than her sister Georgia. She was a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and the Georgia Nugent Improvement Club. A long-time member of the Kentucky Association of Colored Women, she wrote the group’s official song. She often took charge of music programs at meetings and conventions and organized programs for children. She took charge of children’s programming when the National Association of Colored Women held its convention in Louisville in 1910. 


The Nugent home became a welcoming station for important figures visiting the city. Alice Nugent had

been instrumental in the family’s hosting of out-of-town guests and continued that role after the death of

her sisters.  When Mary McLeod Bethune visited Louisville in 1941 as director of the National Youth

Administration, a New Deal program, she was Alice’s guest at the Nugent Sixth Street home.

Alice Nugent died in 1971 at age 98, the last surviving member of the Nugent family.

Mollie Nugent Williams (1867-1936)

Seamstress, Church Worker, Activist


Mollie Nugent, the oldest daughter of George and Anna Foster Nugent, lived with her husband, Tom

Williams, on 6 th Street with the Nugent family. Mollie worked as a dressmaker/seamstress; Tom worked

as a porter. The couple had no children.


Early in life, Mollie was less active publicly than her younger sisters. However, later she became a

member of the Kentucky Association of Colored Women, serving as chair of its Executive Board; she

served on the Board of Managers of the Baptist Women’s Educational Convention and spoke at the

Baptist Women’s Convention on behalf of the Children’s Band. 


Mollie Williams was comfortable being a quiet helper.  She often assisted with maintenance at state

University and was president of the Helping Hands Club.


Ida Bell Nugent Paey (1880-1958)

Teacher, Civic Leader


Ida Bell Nugent lived with her parents and siblings and taught in Louisville until 1908. In 1903, she was

assigned to Main Street Kindergarten when the Louisville School System established public

kindergartens, incorporating existing church sponsored kindergartens. She later taught at Eastern Colored School and South Louisville Colored School. In 1907 she spoke on kindergartens at the state meeting of the Colored Teachers Association. In 1908, she married Andrew Lyman Paey, a physician, and moved to Norfolk, Va.  

Nugent Paey became active in civic affairs in Norfolk. The U. S. Census and City Directories list her in a

variety of roles, including superintendent (1914), probation officer (1913 and 1918) and manager (1947).

She became founder and president of the Day Nursery and Children’s Home, whose purpose was to care

for children while their parents were at work, and included “without charge destitute, neglected,

mistreated or abandoned children” to instruct them “in morals, religious principles, and the rudiments of

education.” She served as a vice president of the Negro Organization Society, whose purpose was “to use every possible means to see that the Negro not only has his chance, but that, having it, he will use it in the wisest possible way for the good of his race and his country.” A Cleveland Gazette article credits this Society with “stirr(ing) the whole city to the realization of the needs of colored people, who though they pay large sums of taxes and are for the most part law abiding, have received relatively scant attention at the hands of the Norfolk city government” and for the bi-racial Norfolk Social Services Bureau. 


Ida Nugent Paey visited her sisters often, usually with a reception in her honor at the Nugent home. She

died in Norfolk in 1958. Her remains were returned to Louisville, where she was buried with her birth

family and husband, who had died earlier and had been brought to Louisville for burial.

Nugent Sisters Information Provided By: Looking for Lilleth Theatre Company

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