Callie Mathes Coleman (abt 1877 – 1960)

Callie Coleman was a force of nature. In 1910, Callie Howard, a widow, worked as a farm laborer in Sumter, Georgia. She was raising seven children, ages four to seventeen. Within seven years, she moved her entire family to Connecticut. In 1920 she was a housewife, married to Alonzo Coleman.

Coleman became involved in politics soon after her arrival in Hartford. She served on the Republican committee for the Third Ward, precinct 31,  and she was a member of the Colored Voters’ Republican League.

Coleman’s community activism may have inspired the work of her daughter, Lila Howard Montgomery (abt 1898 – 1954). Lila was one of the first African American nurses in Hartford. She received her training in Georgia and then returned to Connecticut. Lila’s service during the influenza epidemic of WWI earned a letter of commendation from Connecticut Governor Everett J. Lake (in office 1921-1923).

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

Click here for COVID-19 visiting rules. Click here for the CHS’s digital programs.