El Paso’s African American Women Suffragists

On Dec 12, 1918, the Colored Women’s Progressive Club of El Paso was organized, and it was an auxiliary to the El Paso Equal Franchise League. They campaigned for women’s right to vote and fought for the improvement of their living conditions. The first president was Maud Edith Sampson. Sampson tried registering the club as an auxiliary to the Texas Equal Franchise League but found resistance because of their race. Nevertheless, the club found support among El Paso white suffragists like Georgia Ferguson, Edith Lane, and Belle Critchett who attended the December meeting organizing the club.

Some of the first members of the club included Mrs. M.J. Ford, Annie Wright, Mrs. John Kelly, Mrs. L.A. Nixon, Mrs. Leroy White, Mrs. L.W. Washington, Mrs. J.D. Lee, Mrs. L.B Edwards.

That first meeting was held at the black Masonic Temple. Preceding that, there was a gathering and reception at the home of Sampson on 710 St. Vrain. The black Masonic temple was on South Virginia street. Another early civic club for African American women was the Phillis Wheatley Society, named after the first published African American women poet. The local chapter was organized in 1914, and it led to the founding of the Colored Women’s Progressive Club.

Joseph Longo

EPHS Curator


Since 1954 the El Paso County Historical Society has been a driving force in the historic scene of El Paso. EPCHS strives to foster research into the history of the El Paso area; acquire and make available to the public historic materials; publish and encourage historical writing pertaining to the area; and to develop public consciousness of our rich heritage.