Date of Birth:

1851, Lennox, Massachusetts

Date of Death:

August 24, 1914, San José, California


Social Justice & Community


Sarah Massey Overton was a suffragist, a leading black freedom fighter and women’s rights activist in San José, California. Before moving to San José, the Massey family lived in Gilroy. In the 1880s, Overton was active in the fair public education movement that campaigned for African American children to be enrolled in public schools. In 1906, soon after the establishment of the California State Association of Colored Women’s Clubs in Oakland, along with Elizabeth Boyer, Overton co-founded the San Jose’s Garden City Women’s Club. As co-founder of the Garden City Women’s Club, she lobbied for forming interracial women’s club coalitions with white women and other women of color to support women’s suffrage. Overton also worked registering male voters through the Political Equality Club of San José and at the same time lobbied for woman suffrage in support of the 1911 statewide election. She was vice-president of San José’s interracial Suffrage Amendment League, and later president of the all-black Victoria Earle Matthews (Mothers) Club, which aided young Black women and girls who had been or who were threatened with sexual abuse.

Honoree Photo Credit:
Public Domain


Dana Harris Seeger