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date: 20 September 2020

Fleming, Lethia Cousinslocked

(7 Nov. 1876–22 Sept. 1963)
  • Carol Lasser

Extract

Fleming, Lethia Cousins (7 Nov. 1876–22 Sept. 1963), suffragist, Republican party organizer and civic activist, was born Lethia Henrietta Elizabeth Cousins in Tazewell, Virginia, the first of the eight children of James Archibald Cousins and Fannie Taylor Cousins. Her father, a free-born man of color, had been impressed into the Confederate army; after the Civil War he moved to Tazewell, where he prospered as a brick mason. Lethia attended high school in Ironton, Ohio, and Morristown College in Tennessee. On completing her studies, she became a teacher, first in Virginia, then in McDowell and Cabell counties, just across the state line in West Virginia. In these predominantly African American communities, where black political participation belied the rise of Jim Crow, Lethia Cousins taught for around two decades, joined women’s organizations, and began her work for women’s suffrage....

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