Minnie L. Bradley was born in Connecticut in 1882 and lived mostly in New Haven. Her mother, Serena, was from Maryland, and her father, John, from Florida. Minnie was the youngest of their four children. She worked as a nurse and a bookkeeper before running her own printing company in New Haven.
Bradley was a major leader and supporter of African American women locally and nationally. She served as the first president of the Connecticut branch of the National Association of Colored Women, which formed in 1920 with 540 members. Re-elected several times as president, Bradley led the organization as it was renamed the Nutmeg State Federation of Women’s Clubs.
She also campaigned to enact labor reforms for domestic service workers. Bradley collaborated with the renowned African American educators and activists Nannie Helen Burroughs and Mary McLeod Bethune to create the National Association of Wage Earners. The association sought to protect the three million African American women who were employed in domestic and personal service. Bradley and her co-activists fought for fair wages, better living conditions, and respect for these workers.