ADella Hunt LOGAN
Suffragist, educator, writer, and librarian
2024 Inductee, Georgia Women of Achievement
“More and more colored women are studying public questions and civics. As they gain information and have experience in their daily vocations and in their efforts for human betterment they are convinced, as many other women have long ago been convinced, that their efforts would be more telling if women had the vote."
- Adella Hunt Logan
February 12, 1863
December 12, 1915
City, Town, Region
Adella Hunt Logan was born February 10, 1863, in Sparta, Hancock County, Georgia. She was the daughter of Henry Alexander Hunt, Sr., a planter and Confederate captain, and Mariah “Cherokee Lily” Hunt, a free woman of mixed-race Cherokee and African ancestry.
She attended Bass Academy, a private school for Black children in Sparta. Logan earned a scholarship to attend Atlanta University, where she entered the normal education program. She undertook additional coursework at the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Institute in New York. She also earned an honorary doctorate from Atlanta University in 1903, in recognition of her achievements.
In 1883, she turned down an opportunity to teach at her alma mater and accepted Booker T. Washington's invitation to join the all-Black faculty at Tuskegee Institute. There she served in various capacities, including instructor of English and social sciences, interim lady
principal, and debate team coach. She organized the school's library and served as its first librarian. At Tuskegee, Logan met and married her husband, Warren Logan, who served as the school's treasurer. Although she resided in Alabama, Logan was a frequent visitor to
Georgia, where she joined Black women including Janie Porter Barrett, Selena Sloan Butler, Victoria Earle Matthews, Lucy Craft Laney to work on issues of concern to the Black community.
She was a regular participant of the Colored Teachers Department of the Peabody Institutes in Alabama and Georgia. She taught Reading and Spelling at Institutes held in Augusta, Georgia, in 1889 and Milledgeville, Georgia in 1890. In 1894, she presided over the Women’s Conference of the Third Annual Tuskegee Conference. She also served on the Staff of Publications at Tuskegee Institute. Her specialty was Domestic Science. She was a founding member of the Tuskegee Women’s Club. In 1901 she became Alabama’s first and at that time, only life member of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. She strategically used her ambiguous racial identity to attend meetings of the NAWSA, which allowed her to keep her pulse on the work of white women suffragists.
Logan attended and spoke frequently at meetings of the National Association of Colored Women, where she delivered speeches protesting Jim Crow segregation on railway cars and campaigned for more literature to be published on women’s suffrage. She herself had published articles on civil rights, domestic science, public health, and suffrage in local institutional newspapers, such as Tuskegee’s Negro Farmer and Messenger, as well as leading national Black newspapers, such as the Colored American and the NAACP’s Crisis.
By writing pseudonymously to mask her race, she was able to author articles highlighting Black women's suffrage work for the NAWSA’s Women’s Journal, a national publication.
Logan was a contemporary of luminaries as diverse as Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Dubois, and Susan B. Anthony. She held debates and led a march on women's suffrage while at Tuskegee. She was an adamant supporter of the right to vote for Black women, a stance that was at odds with Booker T. Washington views. She went on to develop a relationship with Washington's philosophical revival, W.E.B. Dubois, who directed her 1903 master's thesis from Atlanta University. Dubois was so impressed with Logan that he invited her to author an article in a special issue of the Crisis, which was dedicated to Black women's suffrage. The article appeared alongside others by thought leaders such as Mary Church Terrell and Alice Dunbar Nelson.
Although Susan B. Anthony denied Logan the opportunity to speak at the NAWSA's 1899 national convention, the two women maintained contact. In 1903, Logan and Mrs. Booker T. Washington organized social events for a visit from Susan B. Anthony at the Tuskegee Institute. Anthony could not deny Logan's tenacity. Among the books in Logan’s personal library was a copy of Anthony’s four-volume set, The History of Women Suffrage, inscribed as follows: “because of my admiration of you and your work.”
Her awards include the previously mentioned honorary doctorate from Atlanta University "for conspicuous success as a teacher and helper in the work of the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute" (Bulletin of Atlanta University, 1903, p. 1). In 2019, she was recognized by the state of Alabama as a part of its Alabama Women's Suffrage Centennial. Although she was long neglected from the canon of Black women suffragists, over the past 30 years, through dissertations, books, articles, and other media, Logan has increasingly been recognized for her activism within the national women's suffrage movement.
Adella Hunt Logan worked tirelessly within the limitations imposed by her race and sex to advance the causes of education and suffrage for Black women. Notably, she strategically used the platform that was available to her, the pen, to bring the issue of Black women's suffrage into the national consciousness. Her connections to Georgia, including her birth and early education in Sparta, preparation at Atlanta University, teaching career in Albany,
connections with Georgia Black women activists and speaking engagements in Georgia on issues of concern regarding Black families and the education of Black children have not received the recognition they should within her home state.
Although she died nearly five years before the 19th amendment was ratified in 1920, and fifty years before Black women would be guaranteed the right to vote through the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, her early advocacy on behalf of Black women's right to
vote is significant and worthy of acknowledgment.