Addie Waites Hunton

Lived:June 11, 1875—June 21, 1943 (aged 68)

Addie Waites Hunton was an African American suffragist, civil rights leader and women’s rights activist.

Born in Norfolk, Virginia in 1875, Hunton was raised by a maternal aunt in Boston after the death of her mother and went on to attend college in Philadelphia. Starting her career as a teacher in Alabama, Hunton married William Alphaeus Hunton, secretary of a YMCA branch, in 1893 and attended the founding convention of the National Association of Colored Women in 1895. In 1906, the Huntons moved their family to Brooklyn, New York, where Hunton would continue her activism.

After the death of her husband in 1916, Hunton volunteered for YMCA service during World War I, assisting African-American troops in France for over a year. Hunton co-wrote "Two Colored Women with the American Expeditionary Forces" in 1920 about her experience in France. Once home, Hunton served on the Council of Colored Work of the National Board of the YWCA, became president of the International Council of the Women of Darker Races and of the Empire State Federation of Women’s Clubs, and was a vice president and field secretary of the NAACP. Active in the National Association of Colored Women and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Hunton was a pillar of early New York civil rights activism, co-organizing the Fourth Pan-African Congress in 1927. Four years after presiding over a ceremony to honor outstanding African American women at the 1939 New York World’s Fair, Hunton passed away from diabetes leaving a legacy of civic engagement and fearless outspokenness.

Information taken from:

Hutson, Jean B. “Biographical Sketch of Addie Waites Hunton.” In Dictionary of American Negro Biography, edited by Rayford W. Logan and Michael R. Winston, 337-338. New York, N.Y.: W.W. Norton, 1982.