Maria L. Baldwin Suffrage Marker Unveiling Event in Cambridge

Suffrage100MA (now the Massachusetts Women's History Center), the City of Cambridge, Office of the City Manager, and Cambridge Historical Commission unveiled a Massachusetts women’s suffrage marker for Maria L. Baldwin on Saturday, September 30, 2023 at the Cambridge Senior Center, 806 Mass Ave, Cambridge. See event photos at bottom of page!

Maria L. Baldwin Women's Suffrage Marker Unveiling

Thanks to the wonderful speakers:

  • Cambridge Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui
  • Cambridge City Councilor E. Denise Simmons
  • State Representative Marjorie C. Decker
  • State Representative Mike Connolly
  • Sarah Burks, Preservation Planner, Cambridge Historical Commission
  • Fredie Kay, Founder & President, Suffrage100MA
  • Special thanks to Maria L. Baldwin School Principal Heidi Cook, Music Teacher Elizabeth Hewitt, Family Liaison Susan Tiersch and student singers for their musical fabulous performance!

While they were not able to join us, Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Ed Markey shared these inspiring messages about the Maria L. Baldwin suffrage marker: 

Dear Suffrage100MA,

I join you and the City of Cambridge in celebrating the unveiling of the historic women's suffrage marker honoring Maria L. Baldwin for her impactful contributions to the fight for gender and racial justice. She understood that the struggles of marginalized peoples are interconnected and her brave fight for abolition and equal voting access inspires us to continue to follow her lead. We must continue to fight for justice in our election system, and you can count on me as a partner in the United States Senate to do just that.


Elizabeth Warren, United States Senator

Maria Baldwin was born, educated and fought her entire life here in Cambridge for the cause of women’s suffrage. A longstanding champion for civil rights, suffrage, and educational equity, she became the first Black woman to serve as a school principal in the Northeast. From her cofounding of the Women’s Era Club to her early membership in the NAACP, she committed herself to changing the world. Today I honor Maria Baldwin for her ceaseless dedication to the cause of equality and women’s suffrage – particularly for those women of color who were often excluded from White Suffragist groups. This marker serves as a valuable reminder of all that was fought for and that we continue to fight for in Cambridge, in Massachusetts, and beyond – equal rights to vote, learn, and participate in American democracy regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity.


Ed Markey, United States Senator

The marker, which is now installed in front of the home where Maria Baldwin lived, 196 Prospect Street, Cambridge, celebrates Baldwin’s legacy as a suffragist, civil rights activist and educator, and will encourage passers-by to learn more. The marker is one of five Massachusetts marker sites on the National Votes for Women Trail, which includes over 200 suffrage markers throughout the country. The project was funded through a grant by the William G. Pomeroy Foundation®, sponsored by the National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites (NCWHS)’s National Votes for Women Trail (NVWT), and coordinated in Massachusetts by Suffrage100MA. 

Maria Louise Baldwin (1856-1922), raised in Cambridge, Mass., served as the state’s first female Black principal (1889-1916) and later as New England’s first Black school master at the former Agassiz Grammar School (renamed Maria L. Baldwin School in 2002). In 1893, Baldwin co-founded and helped lead the nationally influential Woman’s Era Club, along with other Black Boston suffragists: Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin, Eliza Gardner, Arianna Sparrow, and Florida Ruffin Ridley. The club was active in the women’s suffrage movement, the overall enrichment of Black women, and education and employment opportunities for Black Bostonians. 

Baldwin was also an early member of the NAACP and president of the Boston Literary and Historical Association. The house where Baldwin lived at 196 Prospect St. in Cambridge, where she would regularly host Black students and intellectual “salons”, is on the National Register of Historic Places and will now be home of the National Votes for Women Trail marker honoring her legacy.

Sponsored by the National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites, the National Votes for Women Trail seeks to recognize and celebrate the enormous diversity of people and groups active in the struggle for women’s suffrage. The Trail consists of two parts: 1) a database with 2,364 sites on a digital map and 2) a program of historical markers for over 200 women’s suffrage sites across the country, and was funded by the William G. Pomeroy Foundation®’s National Women’s Suffrage Marker Grant Program.

The Maria Baldwin marker is the final of five Massachusetts suffrage markers that have been unveiled since 2022, also including: Anne L. Page (Danvers); Remond Family (Salem); Sojourner Truth (Northampton); and Sarah E. Wall (Worcester).