Naomi Bowman Talbert Anderson

Lived:March 4, 1843—June 9, 1899 (aged 56)

Naomi Bowman Talbert Anderson was a poet, writer and public speaker who often gave speeches on the experience of black women and their right to vote. She spoke about the issues of black women but was an advocate for all genders and races. She worked alongside suffragists to campaign for the first woman’s suffrage referendum.

Anderson was born on March 1, 1843, in Michigan City, Indiana, to one of two black families in the community. At age 12, she was noticed for her poetic talent and was invited to attend the previously all-white school to finish her education. Although her mother wished for Anderson and her sister to attend Oberlin College, she died when Anderson was 17 and Anderson's father did not support that wish. At age 20, she married William Talbert, a barber, and they moved to Chicago in 1868.

In Chicago, Anderson became a public figure and was heavily involved with the International Organization of Grand Templars and later the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. She spoke at the first Women’s Rights Convention in 1869.

In 1869, Anderson and her husband moved from Chicago to Ohio. In the 1870s, she wrote articles for newspapers and lectured on women's rights, Christianity and temperance in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. After Talbert's health failed, Anderson supported the family as a hair dresser, a manager at an orphanage and then a teacher. After Talbert's death in 1877, Anderson supported her family as a hairdresser. She married Lewis Anderson in 1881, and in 1884, the Andersons moved to Wichita, Kansas, where he was a banker. Anderson continued to write and lecture for temperance and women's rights, and also co-founded a home for black children in Wichita.

While not much is known about Anderson’s life after moving to California in the 1890s, her commitment to suffrage and civil rights was unwavering.

Anderson died on June 9, 1899.

Sources:
“Naomi Bowman Talbert Anderson.” Notable Black American Women, by Jessie Carney. Smith, Gale Research, 1996, pp. 11–12.