Lide Smith Meriwether led the first generation of southern feminists in Memphis. She lobbied tirelessly for women’s rights and championed legal reform that would give women title to their own earnings, parental guardianship and the right to vote.
Meriwether also advocated for the marginalized, organizing Black women to unionize and taking in prostitutes to teach them other occupations.
In 1892 representing Tennessee, she testified before a U.S. House of Representatives hearing on women’s suffrage alongside women from 27 states. Though Meriwether didn’t live to see the 19th Amendment ratified, her indelible legacy for the enfranchisement of women lives on.
– Hannah Van Sickle, The Memphis 100