Irene Moorman Blackstone

Irene Moorman Blackstone was an African-American businesswoman, club member and suffragist who is remembered for her role in bringing racial cooperation into the New York suffrage campaign and for her work to prevent discrimination against blacks in attaining socio-economic and political equality.

Blackstone was born in 1872 in Virginia. She began her career as a sub-agent in the brokerage business, then worked for the Metropolitan Mercantile and Realty Company. She later supported herself as a newsdealer in Harlem.

Blackstone was a member of the women's auxiliary of the Negro Business League of New York, a founder and president of the Metropolitan Business Women's Club of Brooklyn, treasurer for the Empire State Federation of Women's Clubs, on the boards of the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs and Young Women's Christian Association. She joined the Colored Women's Equal Suffrage League of Brooklyn in December 1907 and the Political Equality League, which campaigned for New York State politicians who supported suffrage, in 1910. She became a regular speaker in support of women's suffrage and frequently presided over suffrage events.

In 1916, Blackstone attended Marcus Garvey's first public lecture in New York City and served as president of the Ladies' Division of the New York Chapter of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, founded by Garvey. She was one of the first to purchase stock in Garvey's Black Star Line venture when it launched in 1919. After the passage of the 19th Amendment, Blackstone focused her attention on UNIA and other programs which worked to prevent discrimination against blacks in attaining socio-economic and political equality.

In 1930, Blackstone was selected vice president of the New York City Federation of Women's Clubs, and in 1931 became president of the local and state branches of the federation. Throughout the 1930s, she continued her activism for the black community and women's rights.

Blackstone died some time after 1944.