My Contribution: I was a lecturer best known for advocating for the vote for African American men and especially women after the Civil War. I spoke widely on the theme of “impartial suffrage”—equal political rights for women and men—at Colored Conventions and Equal Rights Leagues in Pennsylvania and New York.

My Legacy: I was a powerful voice for the political rights of Black women to vote at a time when most people favored only male suffrage. I spoke up for the view that women could succeed in any professional or literary occupation if only given the equality of opportunity.

About Me: “She was introduced to the audience by Prof. O. L. C. Hughes, editor of the Progress of Liberty, who, in introducing her, said he did not endorse her views on female suffrage. Miss Molson delivered her lecture in a very pleasing manner, and her subject was handled in such a manner as to evince great care in its preparation. She is outspoken in favor of suffrage for all, and especially for fe- males, who, she thinks, have as great a claim to vote as the men have. She met the objections that are usually advanced against female suf- frage, and handled the ‘lords of creation’ without gloves. Her style of delivery is similar to that of Anna Dickinson, and her elocution, if anything, is more perfect.” — Harrisburg Telegraph, September 15, 1869.

Full Name: Mary D. Molson; Maud Molson Hughes.

Birth Date: September 26, 1846

Death Date: August 26, 1881

Place of Birth: Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Sex: Female

Race: : “Mulatto” (1860 Federal Census), “Quadroon” (The Brooklyn Daily Eagle 1869)

Places of Residence: Addison, New York

Connection to the Old Eighth Ward: Spoke at Wesley Union A.M.E. Zion Church in 1869; participated in the jubilee procession of emancipation in 1869 through the Eighth Ward; knew prominent community members.

Family Members: Father: John Molson. Mother:  Louisa Clark Molson. Siblings: James S., Ellen R., John, Samuel J., Josey, and Charles Summer Molson. Husband: Orra L. C. Hughes. Daughter: Lulu Missouri (Hughes)  Brown. Grandchildren: David, Flora, Anna, and Wesley Brown

Education: Alfred University, 1862-1863 (graduated with highest honors)

Occupations: Lecturer and Orator.

Church Membership: Unknown. Lectured at Wesley Union A.M.E.  Zion Church


Prominent participant in Jubilee celebration of emancipation in Harrisburg (1869); member of National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA); popular national speaker for the equal rights of African American men and women to vote.

Connections: O. L. C. Hughes (husband), David Stevens, Henry H. Garnet, William R. Dorsey, Edward Bennet, and Laura Robinson.