Celebrate Naomi Anderson During Women’s History Month

Rainbow background with text: Women's History Month

Posted on March 7, 2022

by Daphne Bechrakis


March is Women’s History Month, and what better way to celebrate it than by learning about a fascinating and influential woman from La Porte County?

Naomi Bowman Talbert Anderson, often referred to as Naomi Anderson, was born in Michigan City in 1843. Her family was one of only two Black families in Michigan City at the time. Despite slavery being legal in many parts of the country and segregation being the norm in the parts where it was illegal, Naomi Anderson went to school in Michigan City after her impressive writing talent was discovered. She went on to become a civil rights activist and a suffragist fighting for women’s right to vote during the latter part of the 1800s, and was widely known for her skills as an orator and a writer.

Anderson became nationally known in 1869 when newspapers covered her controversial speech at the Women’s Rights Convention in Chicago. In her speech, she stated that the newly approved 15th amendment gave African American men the right to vote, but “black women have no more rights now than they had before the abolition of slavery.” Naomi Anderson went on to lecture all over the country about civil rights and women’s rights, even campaigning alongside famous suffragist Susan B. Anthony during the 1890s.

She was also heavily involved in the communities she lived in, as she was active in the church, was part of the Women’s Christian Temperance Movement, and founded orphanages. Naomi Anderson passed away in Sacramento, California on June 9, 1899. You can read more about Naomi Anderson’s life and accomplishments with the Purdue Northwest Celebrating Naomi Anderson guide: https://guides.pnw.edu/celebratingnaomianderson. This guide was compiled by the Celebrating Naomi Anderson project which aims to educate people on her importance in history.

You can also read 19th century newspaper articles about Naomi Anderson from around the United States in the library’s digital history collection: https://cdm17005.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/suffragist.

Daphne Bechrakis

Daphne Bechrakis

Daphne is a Public Services Librarian and Harry Potter enthusiast. In her free time, she enjoys reading, adding books to her ever-growing “to-be-read” list, hiking, and watching terrible movies with friends. One of her current life goals is to collect the entirety of the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. Her bucket list includes seeing the Aurora Borealis and going to Yellowstone National Park. She is the proud owner of a spider-plant named Skullcrusher III, first of its kind, which she has somehow managed not to kill yet.
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