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Hester C. Jeffrey

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hester C. Jeffrey
Hester C. Jeffrey

Hester C. Whitehurst Jeffrey (c. 1842 - January 2, 1934, also known as Jeffreys or Jeffries)[1] was an African American activist, suffragist, and community organizer in New York City.

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Jeffrey was most likely born in 1842 in Norfolk, Virginia to free black parents.[2] She was educated and was considered an accomplished musician.[3] In 1860, Jeffrey and her brother and sister moved to Boston where they lived with her uncle, Coffin Pitts.[2] She married Jerome Jeffrey in 1865.[2] Her husband's father, the Reverend Roswell Jeffrey, was a political activist in Rochester.[2] Jeffrey eventually moved to Rochester in 1891.[1]

In Rochester, she became involved in the Political Equality Club and the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU).[1] She later became a national organizer for the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs (NACWC).[3] In 1897, she served on the Douglass Monument Committee, where she helped raise money for a statue of Frederick Douglass.[4] Jeffrey helped create clubs for African American women, including the Susan B. Anthony Club for black women.[1] This club worked towards women's suffrage and created a Mother's Council, to help women with small children.[2] Other clubs she created were the Climbers and the Hester C. Jeffrey Club for young black women.[1] The Hester C. Jeffrey Club helped raise money for young black women to take classes at what later became the Rochester Institute of Technology.[1]

Jeffrey was friends with Susan B. Anthony and was often seen at Anthony's home in Rochester.[3] Jeffrey was the only layperson to give a eulogy at Anthony's funeral service held in 1906.[3] She had also been selected to represent on "behalf of the negro" at the funeral.[5] The eulogy expressed both sorrow for Anthony's death and also praised her advocacy for women's suffrage.[6] Jeffrey also created the first memorial for Anthony which was a stained glass window installed at the A.M.E. Zion church and unveiled in 1907.[1]

Jeffrey moved back to Boston several years before she died, in order to live with her relatives.[3] She is buried in an unmarked grave in Woodlawn Cemetery in Everett next to her sister, Phoebe Whitehurst Glover.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Hester Jeffrey". Western New York Suffragists: Winning the Vote. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e Smith, Eric A. "Jeffrey, Hester C. (1842-1934)". Retrieved 13 February 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Hurst, Colleen (2003). "Hester C. Whitehurst Jeffrey" (PDF). Rochester Unitarian. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
  4. ^ Memmott, Jim (25 June 2015). "10 Unknowns Who Shaped Rochester". Democrat & Chronicle. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
  5. ^ "The Anthony Funeral". The Emporia Gazette. 15 March 1906. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
  6. ^ Brooks-Bertram, Peggy (8 February 2015). "Uncrowned Community Builders: Hester C. Jeffrey". Buffalo Rising. Retrieved 13 February 2017.

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This page was last edited on 28 April 2018, at 20:54
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