Anna Hedgeman was a force for civil rights

Anna Hedgeman
Wed, 1899-07-05

On this date in 1899, Anna Arnold Hedgeman was born. She was an African American politician and activist.

She was born in Marshalltown, Iowa, and nurtured in a home of former slaves in both parents and grandparents. She grew up in St. Paul, MN, where at breakfast prayers were said for the day. At night, all of her family members reported on how they had been useful. Useful was the optimum word, useful to yourself and useful to life. In 1922, she became the first Black woman to graduate from St. Paul’s Hamline University. In 1936 she married Merritt A. Hedgeman, an interpreter and singer of Black folk music and opera. Hamline awarded her an Honorary Doctor degree in 1948.

Hedgeman was a NOW founder and the first Black woman to serve on a mayoral cabinet in New York City from 1954 to 1958. She is also credited with recruiting over 40,000 Protestant churchmen to participate in the 1963 March on Washington. Dr. Hedgeman died on January 17 1990 in Harlem Hospital. Today, her portrait hangs in The National Gallery in Washington, D.C.

I Dream A World: Portraits of Black women Who Changed America
Edited by Barbara Summers
Photos and Interviews by Brian lanker
Copyright 1989, Workman Publishing
ISBN 1-555670-063-6

Person / name: 

Hedgeman, Anna