Harlem 1919: A question of leadership
Maud Malone, New York City Library worker, is happy to provide resources to help you learn more about Greenwich Village as well as the suffrage and labour factions in 1913.
Maud Malone (1872-1951) was born into an activist family in Brooklyn, New York. Her father (Dr. Edward Malone), uncle (Reverend Sylvester Malone) and brother (Sylvester) fought against social inequities such as slavery and poverty while her older sister Marcella advocated for both women’s and workers’ rights. Like her sister, Maud was a suffragette and labour organizer who opposed “prejudice of any kind” and supported a wide range of causes including a single tax and birth control. She helped to found the Harlem Equal Rights League in 1904 and the Library Employees’ Union of Greater New York in 1917.
Maud was well known for her direct, “unorthodox” approach to social change. Street corner speeches, open air meetings in public parks, disruptions to political rallies and mock elections—she used all of these tactics to keep both “votes for women” and “equal pay for equal work” in the public eye and on the political agenda. She is perhaps most famous for publicly challenging Woodrow Wilson on the issue of women’s suffrage at a political rally during the 1912 presidential campaign, a tactic which led to jail time for being a “willful and malicious” agitator.
Confrontations with the law were common for Maud and she was in fact the first women to be arrested for civil disobedience in the fight for women’s suffrage and thus acknowledged as the first American suffragette. Maud died in New York 1951, celebrated as an “unafraid” champion for social justice.
Shanley, C. (1992). The Library Employees' Union of Greater New York, 1917-1929 (Order No. 9232089). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (303967184).
Shanley, C. (1995). The Library Employees’ Union of Greater New York, 1917-1929. Libraries & Culture, 30(3), 235. Retrieved from http://www.psupress.org/Journals/jnls_LCHS.html.
Key database to search for peer reviewed journal articles: American History and Life