Let's Learn From the Past: Daisy Lampkin

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Daisy Lampkin once said that, "nothing is done unless women do it," and throughout her life, she was a woman who did it all. Best known as an NAACP organizer, Lampkin spent decades tirelessly crusading for civil and women's rights through a variety of local and national organizations.

Daisy Elizabeth Adams was born in Washington, D.C., in 1883, and moved to Pittsburgh in 1909.

She married William Lampkin in 1912 and joined the Lucy Stone Women Suffrage League, an organization devoted to women's voting rights. Mrs. Lampkin served as president of the organization from 1915 through 1955, overseeing its transition to the Lucy Stone Civic League after women secured the right to vote in 1920.

Following World War I, Lampkin purchased stock in the Pittsburgh Courier and eventually increased her shares in the African-American newspaper until she became vice president of the Courier Publishing Co. in 1929.

Influential in politics, she was twice chosen as an alternate delegate to the National Republican Convention in the 1920s and was the only woman in a group of African-American leaders invited to meet with President Calvin Coolidge in 1924. She served as vice chair for the Colored Voters Division of the Republican Party and the Negro Voters League of Pennsylvania.

Known as an unparalleled NAACP organizer, Lampkin spearheaded a membership campaign in 1929 that added 2,000 new members to the Pittsburgh branch. Impressed with her drive, the national organization asked Lampkin to serve as a regional secretary from 1930 to 1935. After her promotion to national field secretary for the NAACP in 1935, she traveled the country raising money and recruiting members.

In 1944, she was honored for raising more money for the NAACP than anyone else in the organization's history. The following year, she was named the NAACP's "Woman of the Year."

After health problems forced her to step down from her national secretary position in 1947, Lampkin remained involved with the NAACP by becoming the first woman on the national board of directors, a position she held for 17 years.

While attending an NAACP membership drive in New Jersey in October 1964, Lampkin suffered a stroke and died five months later on March 10, 1965.

In honor of Women's History Month, the History Center will invite local experts to discuss the women's liberation movement as part of a special panel at 6 p.m. Thursday. Admission is $10 for regular visitors and free for History Center members and includes access to the History Center's new "1968: The Year That Rocked America" exhibition. Information: www.heinzhistorycenter.org.



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