The gravesite of Fannie R. Givens resides in Eastern Cemetery. | Courtesy of Frazier History Museum

As you exercise your right to vote on Tuesday, it’s important to remember how significant that right is — and the people who fought hard so that everyone can make their way to the polls and elect leaders they believe are looking out for their best interests.

Locally, we have many suffragists who helped secure voting rights for women and expand access for all, and 20 of them will be recognized at three area cemeteries with special markers and flower arrangements. Louisvillians are encouraged to visit their graves after voting to pay their respects and also sign the marker to show appreciation.

These special markers will be up during Election Day. | Courtesy of Frazier History Museum

Volunteers will be stationed at each cemetery — Cave Hill Cemetery and Eastern Cemetery, adjacent properties on Baxter Avenue in the Highlands, and Louisville Cemetery on Poplar Level Road — to point you in the right direction.

The markers are part of an initiative started by the National Women’s History Alliance and adapted locally by the Frazier History Museum, the League of Women Voters Louisville and the Metro Louisville Office For Women.

They’ll be available to visit on Tuesday, Nov. 6, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Below is a list of the 20 suffragists who will be highlighted, courtesy of the Frazier History Museum.

Cave Hill Cemetery — 701 Baxter Ave.

  1. Susan Look Avery (1817-1915): Key leader in the suffrage movement and co-founder of the Kentucky Equal Rights Association, Louisville Equal Rights Association and the Louisville Woman’s Club. Section O, Lot 188, Grave 7
  2. Emily P. Beeler (1860-1943): Spent all her life devoted to teaching young children; the first principal of Knox Mission Kindergarten, a kindergarten for African-American children sponsored by the Presbyterian Church.  Section P, Lot 850, Grave 4
  3. Alice Barbee Castleman (1843-1926): First vice president of the Kentucky Equal Rights Association in 1910 and a prominent member of the Louisville Woman’s Club. Section O, Lot 95, Grave 5
  4. Margaret Weissinger Castleman (1880-1945): Prominent public figure speaking on behalf of Louisville women and second president of the Kentucky Equal Rights Association. Section 1, Lot 13, Grave 4
  5. Julia D. Henning (1875-1961): Member of the Kentucky Equal Rights Association. She was first president of the Louisville League of Women Voters. Section 30, Lot 133, Grave 9
  6. Caroline Leech (1850-1929): One of the earliest supporters of the suffrage movement in Louisville. Advocate for women’s suffrage movement at the national convention of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs in 1914. Officer of League of Women Voters. Section O, Lot 204, Grave 2
  7. Eleanor Tarrant Little (1872 -1917): School teacher, president of Louisville Presbyterian and director of Neighborhood House, a Louisville Settlement house. Little worked tirelessly to improve education for all children, regardless of class or race.
  8. Jennie Angell Mengel (1882-1934): Advocate for better education for girls. President of Louisville Woman Suffrage Association. Spearheaded lobbying effort in 1919 to gain ratification of the 19th Amendment. Section 29, Lot 19, Grave 3
  9. Abby Meguire Roach (1876-1966): Well-known poet, was honored in Contemporary American Women Poets by Henry Harrison. She wrote a regular column, “Poems for Our Time,” in the Courier Journal for decades. Section 14, Lot 276
  10. Patty Blackburn Semple (1853-1923): First president of the Woman’s Club of Louisville, promoted literacy among African-Americans and encouraged African-American women to register and vote. Section A, Lot 255
  11. Carolyn Parker Verhoeff (1876-1975): Worked with the College Club, an organization that focuses on furthering women in education. She represented Louisville in the convention of the Kentucky Equal Rights Association and participated in Chicago’s suffrage parade in 1916. Section F, Lot 491, Grave 9
  12. Mary Parker Verhoeff (1872-1962): Advocate for educating the public about voting and urging people to go to the polls. She was one of the few women in the geography field and spearheaded research of the mountains in eastern Kentucky. Section F, Lot 490, Grave 8
  13. Adelaide Schroeder Whiteside (1869-1942): Long-time principal in the Louisville Public Schools, credited with establishing the first nursery school in the South, helping to initiate free kindergartens in Louisville, and forming the committee that opened the first public playground at Brook and Walnut streets. Section Q, Lot 82, Grave 4
  14. Emma J. Woerner (1876-1935): President of the Louisville Equal Rights Association and the first principal for the J.M. Atherton School for Girls (now Atherton High School), opened in 1924. Section 11, Lot 74, Grave 8

Eastern Cemetery — 641 Baxter Ave.

  1. Fannie R. Givens (1864-1947): President of the Baptist Women’s Missionary Convention and art teacher in the Louisville Colored Schools, became the first African-American Louisville policewoman.
  2. Alice Nugent (1890-1971): Long-time teacher in the Louisville Colored Schools, was active in many of the organizations her sister, Georgia, served, choosing a less visible role. She worked to support the Kentucky Negro Educational Association Scholarship Loan Fund.
  3. Georgia A. Nugent (1864-1940): First president of the Kentucky Association of Colored Women’s Clubs, served as officer in the National Association of Colored Women. She taught for more than 40 years in the Louisville Colored Schools.
  4. Mamie E. Steward (1858-1931): Co-founder and long-time president of the Baptist Women’s Education Convention and of the Kentucky Association of Colored Women’s Clubs. Steward was also an officer of the National Association of Colored Women for many years.

Louisville Cemetery — 1339 Poplar Level Road

  1. Mary Virginia Cook Parrish (1863-1945): Co-founder of Baptist Women’s Missionary Convention.; organized the first parent-teacher organization for parents of children in Louisville’s Colored Schools; helped petition for the city’s first African-American playground; co-founded the Phillis Wheatley branch of the YWCA; helped found the Kentucky Association of Colored Women.
  2. Lavinia B. Sneed (circa 1867-1932): Principal of the Georgia Moore and Phillis Wheatley Colored Schools; in 1925, she served on the African-American committee with such activists as James Bond and A.E. Meyzeek that worked with the UofL Board of Trustees toward the creation of a Liberal Arts program for African-Americans.

Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville. She's known around town as the Bar Belle and updates her blog (barbelleblog.com) daily. She's a former editor of LEO Weekly and has written for Playboy and The Alcohol Professor. Havens is the author of two books: "The Bar Belle" and "The Bar Belle Vol. 2."


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