Naomi Talbert Anderson
Naomi Talbert Anderson was a writer, poet and public speaker. She was born in Michigan city, Indiana on March 1st, 1843 to her free black parents, Elijah and Guilly Ann Bowman. Naomi’s mother was concerned for her child’s education and hired a private tutor for Naomi after some failed attempts in trying to put her daughter through an all-white school in town. At age 17, Naomi lost her mother along with any hope of going to Oberlin College as Naomi’s father kept them from attending.
She married William Talbert at age 20 and moved with him to settle in Chicago in 1868. Naomi was talented in poetry and easily became recognized for her works when she moved to Chicago. She suddenly became a public figure and got involved with social organizations such as the International Organization of Grand Templars and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. In 1869, she became known as a strong suffragist and civil rights advocate as she voiced the issues of black women and their right to vote in the first Women’s Rights Convention held that year.
Naomi worked with other suffragists to campaign for the women's right to vote. In 1869, Naomi moved to Ohio with her husband where she wrote articles for several newspapers regarding the issue. In 1870, Naomi toured around Illinois, Ohio, and Indiana to lecture on women’s rights, temperance, and christianity. Naomi’s husband died in 1877, leaving her to support the family by working as a hairdresser. In 1881, she got re-married to Lewis Anderson, a banker, and relocated to Wichita, Kansas. While in Wichita, Naomi co-founded a home for homeless black children and continued writing and lecturing on temperance and women’s rights.
In the 1890s, Naomi lived in San Francisco and became evermore active in the women's suffrage movement, representing African American women at the state level. Alongside fellow suffragist Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Naomi lobbied the state legislature and campaigned for one of the nation’s first women's suffrage referendums. Although there is little known about her life after moving to California, Naomi’s commitment to suffrage and civil rights was one surely called for praise. She only lived until age 56, passing away on June 9th, 1899.
Why I chose this person
"I am Richard Arthur Quansah and I chose Naomi Talbert Anderson because not only did she have the desire to stand and fight for people of her kind, but she was also a talented poet. Whilst reading through some of her poems, I was especially touched by her "Centennial Poem." It goes like this..."
“A woman should supplement, not substitute a man.”
-Annie Wells Cannon
“Naomi Bowman Talbert Anderson.” Notable Black American Women, by Jessie Carney. Smith, Gale Research, 1996, pp. 11–12.
Majors, Monroe Alphus. "Mrs. Naomi Anderson." Noted Negro Women: Their Triumphs and Activities. Jackson: M.V. Lynk House, 1893. 83-88. Women and Social Movements in the United States,1600-2000 database. Alexander Street.