Elizabeth Piper Ensley

Elizabeth Piper Ensley was an African American educator, political activist, and suffragist. Her leadership was instrumental in Colorado’s victorious campaign for full voting rights in 1893. Ensley dedicated her career to organizing for women’s rights, especially for African American women. She led critical local, state, and national women’s organizations where she worked to bridge the racial lines in women’s
organizations.

She was one of the key members of the Non-Partisan Equal Suffrage Association of
Colorado and one of the 28 original members when the association was created in 1893. She was one of only a handful of African American women leaders nationwide who worked for suffrage rights within the racially integrated campaign, the CNPESA. Ensley also was instrumental in mobilizing African American women to join the suffrage campaign and persuading African American men to vote for women’s suffrage.

Ensley founded the Colorado Association of Colored Women’s Clubs in 1904 and served as an officer on the state Board of Directors of the Colorado State Federation of Women’s Clubs – the influential state organization primarily led by white women.

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