Black Women’s Suffrage Movement and Mary E. Dorsey

Laura, Mary and Hannah’s headstone

Mary Dorsey was the youngest child of Clem M. Dorsey and Hannah V. Lyles. She was born in 1882 in Alexandria, VA. In today’s world, it would have been unheard of for a single black woman who was a domestic and hair dresser to command the lifestyle, prestige and political involvement as Mary in the late 18th and 19th Century.

Mary and her sister, Laura M. Dorsey made their impact on history in Alexandria, Virginia in the Black Women’s Suffrage Movement. In future articles this year, I will continue telling the stories of other black women who took advantage of the 19th Amendment.

You can read more about Mary Ellen Dorsey in the Alexandria Gazette newspaper on pages 6 and 18 dated February 19, 2020 at

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