Gertrude Wright Morgan

An honored member of the women’s suffragette movement.

Morgan was active in the Niagara Movement and the establishment of the NAACP. She served as president of the Women’s Era Club, was a member of the board of the Harriet Tubman House and was appointed by Massachusetts Governor Cox to represent the Commonwealth at the dedication of the Frederick Douglass House Museum in 1922.

Alongside her husband, Clement G. Morgan, she hosted prominent citizens and civil rights leaders in their home at 265 Prospect St. in Cambridge.

In April 2019, Cambridge City Council approved renaming North Street and North Point Boulevard to Jacobs Street and Morgan Avenue, respectively, to honor suffragettes Harriet A. Jacobs and Gertrude Wright Morgan.

“A lot of people didn’t know about my great great aunt Gertrude as my family had been trying for years to talk about her,” said Jim Spencer, a Cambridge resident and the great great nephew of Morgan. “So now she is no longer an unsung hero. She’s somebody having a street named after her at Cambridge Crossing, and her family is so proud.” — Jim Spencer


The Springfield School District, founded in 1854, provided separate schools for whites and blacks for most of its first two decades. One white school was located in each city ward (the city administered the schools), and a separate school was opened to African Americans citywide in 1858.

Threats were made by some white citizens and their children, but the board of education and the teachers wisely decided to pursue a policy of masterly inactivity and matters soon adjusted themselves. Many amusing as well as pathetic incidents occurred in connection with the matter.

The first colored girl to enter the high school was Miss Gertrude Wright. She went to school and was at first shunned by the white girls, and as they walked in or out of the building she was left alone. The daughter of General Palmer attended the high school and she walked up to Gertrude Wright and said, “Come, Gertrude, walk with me. I am glad to walk with you.”

This girl was Harriet M. Palmer, called Hattie Palmer. She is now Mrs. E.G. Crabbe of Corpus Christi, Texas. Her colored schoolmate became a noted teacher of colored people and married Clement Morgan, a colored lawyer of Cambridge, Mass., where they live in comfort doing much good and are a credit to their race. When John M. Palmer died Gertrude Wright sent a wealth of flowers asking that they might be placed on his coffin.

Gertrude Wright not only became the first black graduate of Springfield High School, she ranked third academically in the class of 1877. The June 16, 1877 Daily Illinois State Journal took note of her achievement.