My Contribution: I was the oldest living member at Wesley Union A.M.E. Zion Church in the 1930s having been a member for 68 years. I was a prominent member of the Household of Ruth and made significant speaking contributions to Harrisburg’s cultural community.
My Legacy: I was an exemplar of women’s activist work and a voice in the community, whether I was speaking at Wesley Union A.M.E. Zion Church or serving the Household of Ruth. Wesley Union A.M.E. Zion Church still exists today, thanks to my investments.
About Me: “Don’t forget this evening to go to West Street A.M.E. Zion Church to hear the Sabbath school concert and to hear Madame Josephine Dennee-Bibb, one of the finest elocutionists of her race. If you hear her once you will want to hear her again. She can move you to tears or to laughter. In rendering the ‘Black Regiment’ she is truly eloquent and sublime and sways her audience at will.” – Carlisle Evening Herald, March 2, 1894.
Full Name: Josephine L. Dennee Bibb Davidson
Birth Date: 1849
Death Date: March 31, 1936
Place of Birth: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Race: “Mulatto” (Federal Censuses of 1880 and 1910), Black (Federal Census of 1920), and “Negro” (Federal Census of 1930)
Places of Residence: Hamilton, Ontario (early childhood); Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (late 1800s/early 1900s); Harrisburg residences: 514 South Avenue (1880), 113 Cowden St. (1892, 1893), 503 Cowden St. (1910), 109 Anna Street (1916-1936).
Connection to the Old Eighth Ward: I lived in the Eighth Ward, spoke in the Eighth Ward, and belonged to organizations in the Eighth Ward.
Family Members: Father: Charles Dennee. Mother: Mary Dennee. Husband: M1: William H. Bibb (until 1894). Husband: M2: Jeremiah Davidson (1895-1936). Son: Alexander Dennee Bibb.
Education: Educated in Ontario.
Occupations: Dressmaker. Homemaker. Elocutionist.
Church Membership: Wesley Union A.M.E. Zion Church
Activism: Miriam Household of Ruth No.1, Judith Household of Ruth, Woman’s Relief Corps Convention, A.M.E. Zion Sunday School Conference, Secretary of Pennsylvania Afro-American Convention.
Connections: William Howard Day, A. Leslie Marshall (nephew), Alexander Dennee Bibb (son), John Quincy Adams, Joseph Bustill, Jacob C. Compton, George H. Imes, James Auter, John W. Simpson, J.W. Grant, David Stevens, Joseph Thomas, and Anne E. Amos.