Stories from the Old 8th Ward

The Frisby Battis corner at Short and South Streets
This section of African-American owned businesses was renowned as the heart of Republican politics in the Ward
Now the corner of Commonwealth Avenue and South Drive

Story of Politics in Old Eighth Ward

The hatchet was a common symbol of the Temperance Movement. Anne Amos was the founder of the Independent Order of Daughters of Temperance in Pennsylvania.

Although records of Anne Amos are scarce, her obituary, written by the groundbreaking Harrisburger J. P. Scott, demonstrates the power of African-American women to effect political change in the Old Eighth Ward. Born at sea to a French mother and a Martiniquan father who passed away three months before her birth, Anne arrived in Pennsylvania when she was six years old. Prior to the Civil War, she and her husband became ardent abolitionists, using their home as a station on the Underground Railroad. Simultaneously, she opened a kindergarten to help provide educational opportunities for African-American children in Harrisburg and continued her educational service in North Carolina during Reconstruction, teaching the newly emancipated.

Upon returning to Harrisburg, Amos founded the Independent Order of Daughters of Temperance. Not only did this organization work to combat alcoholism and vice, but their work was fully intertwined with the women’s suffrage movement. In fact, Amos was so successful in her temperance and suffrage organizing that she was highly sought by white temperance and suffrage advocates as a consultant and advisor. Moreover, her work was also closely tied to her church as well, demonstrating the ways in which politics, reform, and religious life were often closely related.

Anne E. Amos’s obituary, written by educator J. P. Scott, that appeared in the Pittsburgh Courier, April 1, 1911.