Gertrude Weil

Lived:December 11, 1879—May 30, 1971 (aged 91)

Gertrude Weil was a North Carolina suffragist and labor reform and civil rights activist.

Weil was born on December 11, 1879, in Goldsboro, North Carolina, to an affluent Jewish family. She graduated from Smith College in 1901 and returned to Goldsboro to join the Goldsboro Woman’s Club, which her mother had founded. Club work gave Weil an outlet for her ambition and she became president within a few years.

In 1911 Weil joined the National American Woman Suffrage Association and worked alongside Carrie Chapman Catt to further the movement. In 1914, she helped co-found the Goldsboro Equal Suffrage Association and became the association’s first president. She was also elected president of the North Carolina Equal Suffrage League in 1919. Later, she became the president of the North Carolina League of Women Voters. During the election of 1922, she made headlines because she noticed a stack of illegally marked ballots so she ripped them up and threw them out at the polling location.

Weil also agitated for labor reform and civil rights, joining the Legislative Council of North Carolina Women, the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching and the North Carolina Commission on Interracial Cooperation. Weil received several awards during her lifetime, including the Howard Odum award, an honorary doctorate from UNC Greensboro and the Smith Medal from Smith College for a lifetime of service to others.

Gretrude Weil died on May 30, 1971, at the age of 91.

“Gertrude Weil (1879-1971).” Turning Point Suffragist Memorial. Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association. Accessed January 27, 2020.

“Gertrude Weil.” Jewish Women's Archive. Jewish Women's Archive. Accessed January 27, 2020.

“The Brave Heart and Generous Spirit of Gertrude Weil.” NC Museum of History. North Carolina Museum of History. Accessed January 27, 2020.