Jessie Parkhurst Guzman

Jessie Parkhurst Guzman (1898 -1996) was born in Savannah, Georgia, educated at Howard University (BA, 1919) and Columbia University (MA, 1924), and worked at Tuskegee University for over forty years. During Guzman’s time at Tuskegee University, she served as director of the Department of Research and Records (now called the archives) and Dean of Women (1938-1944). In 1950, she was named Tuskegee’s Woman of the Year, and in 1954, she sought public office with the Macon County Board of Education. This was the first attempt to run for office by a black citizen since Reconstruction. She was also the first black female to seek office in the state of Alabama.  She was an active organizer in the civil rights movement and served as assistant secretary of the Southern Conference Educational Fund.  Her book, Crusade for Civic Democracy: The Story of the Tuskegee Civic Association, 1941-1970 (1983), provides an in-depth look at civil rights work in Tuskegee. Furthermore, she and Bess Bolden Walcott made a journey in the “footsteps of Carver” during the 1950s, without any male companions.

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