Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin
Civil Rights Leader
Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin was born in Boston
and devoted her life to the rights of African-
American women. She assisted in the formation of
the American Woman Suffrage Association in
1869. While committed to the rights of all women,
Mrs. Ruffin worked zealously to address the double
jeopardy of racism and sexism experienced by
women of color. She organized the National
Federation of Afro-American Women, convening
the first national conference in Boston, and assisted
with the establishment of the NAACP in 1910.
Mrs. Ruffin, a member of The New England Women's Press Association, became the first African-American woman to publish a newspaper, The Woman's Era, which focused on the rights and achievements of black women. The League of Women for Community Service, a Boston group she helped co-found in 1918, is still active today, assisting families in need in black communities.
Last Modified: May 16, 2011