Beatrice Johnson Saxon (1881 – 1974)

Beatrice Johnson Saxon was a pioneering civil rights activist in New Haven, Connecticut. Johnson was born in 1881 in South Carolina to Walter and Lucy Adams-Johnson. Less is known about her childhood, but records show, by the turn of the 20th century, Beatrice lived in Georgia with her husband, Belton George Saxon. In 1901, the Saxons welcomed their only son, Spann Saxon, before moving to New Haven. The Saxons lived on Garden Street in the Dwight neighborhood, and Beatrice worked as a caterer.

Saxon became a political figure in New Haven’s black community and participated in the black women’s club scene. According to local historian, Daniel Stewart, Saxon was one of the most influential women in New Haven politics. In the wake of the Great Depression, the political realignment of African Americans shifted from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party. In New Haven, Saxon was part of that shift as a leader in the Democratic State Central Committee. She remained politically active until she died in 1974.

Back to: The Work Must Be Done: Women of Color and the Right to Vote

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