Join Suffrage100MA, the City of Cambridge, Office of the City Manager, and Cambridge Historical Commission for our Massachusetts women’s suffrage marker unveiling for Maria L. Baldwin on Saturday, September 30, 2023, from 3:00-4:30 pm at the Cambridge Senior Center, 806 Mass Ave, Cambridge.
Speakers will include:
State Representative Marjorie C. Decker
Cambridge Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui
Cambridge City Councilor E. Denise Simmons
Sarah Burks, Preservation Planner, Cambridge Historical Commission
Fredie Kay, Founder & President, Suffrage100MA
With a musical performance by students from the Maria L. Baldwin School!!
The marker, which will ultimately be located at the Maria Baldwin House at 196 Prospect Street, Cambridge, will celebrate Baldwin’s legacy as a suffragist, civil rights activist and educator, and encourage passers-by to learn more. The marker is one of five Massachusetts marker sites on the National Votes for Women Trail, which includes over 200 suffrage markers throughout the country. The project was funded through a grant by the William G. Pomeroy Foundation®, sponsored by the National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites (NCWHS)’s National Votes for Women Trail (NVWT), and coordinated in Massachusetts by Suffrage100MA.
Maria Louise Baldwin (1856-1922), raised in Cambridge, Mass., served as the state’s first female Black principal (1889-1916) and later as New England’s first Black school master at the former Agassiz Grammar School (renamed Maria L. Baldwin School in 2002). In 1893, Baldwin co-founded and helped lead the nationally influential Woman’s Era Club, along with other Black Boston suffragists: Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin, Eliza Gardner, Arianna Sparrow, and Florida Ruffin Ridley. The club was active in the women’s suffrage movement, the overall enrichment of Black women, and education and employment opportunities for Black Bostonians.
Baldwin was also an early member of the NAACP and president of the Boston Literary and Historical Association. The house where Baldwin lived at 196 Prospect St. in Cambridge, where she would regularly host Black students and intellectual “salons”, is on the National Register of Historic Places and will now be home of the National Votes for Women Trail marker honoring her legacy.
Sponsored by the National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites, the National Votes for Women Trail seeks to recognize and celebrate the enormous diversity of people and groups active in the struggle for women’s suffrage. The Trail consists of two parts: 1) a database with 2,364 sites on a digital map and 2) a program of historical markers for over 200 women’s suffrage sites across the country, funded by the William G. Pomeroy Foundation®’s National Women’s Suffrage Marker Grant Program.
The Maria Baldwin marker is the final of five Massachusetts suffrage markers that have been unveiled since 2022, also including: Anne L. Page (Danvers); Remond Family (Salem); Sojourner Truth (Northampton); and Sarah E. Wall (Worcester).