My Contribution: I was a talented orator and musician who contributed to the intellectual and cultural life of Black Harrisburg as a stellar student and musician. I gave a speech titled “The Evolution of Democracy” at the 1919 Central High School graduation, performed in the 1919 Jubilee, and performed a solo for the Roosevelt Anniversary.
My Legacy: The musical and intellectual communities of Harrisburg, ever entwined with the Wesley Union A.M.E. Zion Church, still bear my mark.
About Me: “She was a very brilliant girl, very brilliant, and she graduated salutatorian of her class… She was a very beautiful girl, and very brilliant, but college was just out, because there was no money for anything like that for her…. If the old man could have afforded it… of all of ‘em in the family she would have been the one to go to college, because she was just so brilliant.” — Mr. Robert Quann interview on Black Harrisburg in the 1920’s and 1930’s, reflecting on his older sister Rosabelle, February 27, 1977.
Full Name: Rosabelle Helen Quann
Birth Date: April 25, 1901
Death Date: October 17, 1959 (Buried in Lincoln Cemetery, Penbrook, Pennsylvania)
Place of Birth: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Race: “Negro” (1930 Federal Census and Certificate of Death) and Native American (Source: Robert Quann, interview, 1977, referencing the family’s Native American heritage on their father’s side).
Places of Residence: 506 South Street (1901-1906), 431 South Avenue (1907-1915), 525 Brown Alley (1916-1921, 1923), 219 Pine Street (1922) in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; 153 N. Peach Street, Philadelphia (1930); 1213 E. Cumberland Road (1949), Harrisburg
Connection to the Old Eighth Ward: Connection to the Old Eighth Ward: Lived on Tanner’s Alley in the Eighth Ward and belonged to Wesley Union A.M.E. Zion Church
Family Members: : Father: Albert P. Quann. Mother: Annie/Anna Robison Quann, d. Apirl 1923. Siblings: June Quann, Robert Quann, Samuel D. Quann, William Quann, Albert “Rocky” Quann Jr
Education: Harrisburg’s Central High School, 1919 (graduated fourth in class and spoke at commencement); after becoming blind around 1943, took a Dictaphone secretarial course from Thompson College
Occupations: Domestic (Harrisburg, 1922). Sec- retary. Waitress (Philadelphia, 1930).
Church Membership: Wesley Union A.M.E. Zion Church
Activism: Served in Sojourner Truth Club of War Camp Community Service; 1,000 Colored Voices; and S.P.Q.R. Society (Latin club
Connections: Mildred Mercer Cannon, Dorothy Curtis, Mary Braxton Roberts, W. Justin Carter.