My Contribution: I was an activist and politician who devoted my life to securing democracy for all people. I was a founding member of the Phyllis Wheatley Colored Branch of the YWCA in November of 1919, before its formal organization in 1920. Appointed as Pennsylvania’s first Interracial Consultant by Governor Pinchot, I worked with many labor industries throughout Pennsylvania to ensure the employment and safe working environment for African Americans. My successful intervention in racial clashes in Pennsylvania led to similar work in Detroit and Lansing, Michigan. In 1947 I wrote The History of the Negro in Pennsylvania, published by the Department of Welfare.
My Legacy: I advocated for the rights of women of color and committed my life to the activist work of interracial reconciliations that still continues today. I was honored by the Francis Harper Club in Harrisburg in 1926. Several organizations named their groups with my name including the Maude Coleman council, the Maude B. Coleman Republican Women of Montgomery County Council, and a community center in Easton Pennsylvania.
About Me: “Maude Coleman is a woman thoroughly equipped along political lines, having engaged in political, social service, and Y.W.C.A. work…” Harrisburg Telegraph, 1920.
Full Name: Maude B. (Deering) Coleman
Birth Date: ca. 1979
Death Date: February 25, 1953
Place of Birth: Sparrowsville Virginia
Race: “Mulatto” (1910 and 1920 Federal Censuses), “Negro” (1930 and 1940 Federal Censuses)
Places of Residence: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: 129 Short Street (before 1912) and 641 Boas Street (1920-1953)
Connection to the Old Eighth Ward: Resident at 129 Short Street; advocated for residents of the Eighth Ward threatened by the second Capitol Complex Extension Project; petitioned Governor Duff in 1950 to protect the established African-American neighborhood near Forster Street.
Family Members: Husband: John W. Coleman (Feb 25, 1865-Feb 28, 1948), m. September 3, 1897. Child: Priscilla Coleman, died in infancy.
Education: Graduate of University of Washington, Oberlin College, and Pennsylvania School of Social Work.
Occupations: Special Inter-Racial Consultant for the State Welfare Department for thirty years. Founding member of the Phyllis Wheatley Colored Harrisburg Branch of the YWCA in 1920. First African American tax collector in the country, according to a Pittsburg Courier article in 1926. Sole “female delinquent tax collector” in Pennsylvania (Chicago Defender, 1935).
Church Membership: Married at First Baptist Church in Harrisburg; honored with “Maude B. Coleman Day” at Bethel A.M.E. Church in 1926; husband John Coleman was member of Capital Presbyterian Church; Superintendent of Sunday School at Capital Presbyterian; funeral service held at Wesley Union A.M.E. Zion Church with Rev. Garrett Lee (Capital Presbyterian) and Rev. B.T. Glasco (Berean Presbyterian, Philadelphia) officiating. Buried at William Howard Day Cemetery alongside husband.
Activism: Dauphin County Organizer of Colored Women; member of Republican City Committee, American Red Cross, Seattle Red Cross Auxiliary, and the Rebecca Aldridge Civic Club of Harrisburg; guest speaker in Harrisburg schools during “National Negro History Week” in 1940; president of the Auxiliary to Harrisburg’s branch of the NAACP; State Organizer of Colored Women by the State Committee of Pennsylvania (Republican appointee); State Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs (district vice president); Pennsylvania State Organization of Social Workers (member, teacher); member of Women’s National Republican Organization and the Negro Women’s Republican League; Bethune-Cookman College in Florida (advisory board); and Colored Women’s Eastern Division of the Republican Party (director).
Connections: James M. Auter, Jr. (co-worker); A. Dennee Bibb and Dorothy Curtis (nearby neighbors); A. Denne Bibb (fellow Republican); Ida and Cassius Brown, Jr. (YWCA collaborators); Charles Crampton (census committee, NAACP); A. Dennee Bibb (NAACP); and John P. Scott.