Maritcha Remand Lyons (b. 1848 – d. 1929)

Maritcha Remand Lyons (b. 1848 – d. 1929)

Lyons was an educator, civic leader, suffragist, and public speaker in New York City.  Born in New York City, Lyons grew up in Providence Rhode Island after her family’s home in Brooklyn was attacked several times during the draft riots of the Civil War. In 1869, she became the first black graduate of Providence High School after a campaign for the desegregation of the state led by black abolitionist George T. Downing. After graduating, she became a teacher—accepting her first position at Colored School No. 1 in Brooklyn, New York. Thirty years into her career, in 1898 she became an assistant principal at the integrated Public School No. 83. She also was in charge of supervising and teaching other educators, making her just the second black person in New York City public school history to do so.  Outside of her work in education, Lyons was a strong advocate for civil rights. She was involved with the Ida B. Well’s anti-lynching campaign and helped to fund the printing of Ida B. Wells’ “Southern Horrors: Lynch Laws in All Its Phases.” Lyons was also involved in suffrage work. She founded the White Rose Mission, an organization that offered refuge to women from the Caribbean and southern states. She was a member of the Colored Women’s Equal Suffrage League of Brooklyn and was a co-founder of the Women’s Loyal Union of New York and Brooklyn.

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