Juno Frankie Pierce

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Juno Frankie Seay Pierce, also known as Frankie Pierce or J. Frankie Pierce (~1864–1954), was an African-American educator and suffragist.[1][2][3][4][5] She also opened the Tennessee Vocational School for Colored Girls in 1923, and served as its superintendent until 1939.[3][6] The school continued to operate until 1979.[3] Pierce also addressed the May 1920 state suffrage convention in Tennessee.[3]

On August 26, 2016, as part of Women's Equality Day, a monument by Alan LeQuire was unveiled in Centennial Park in Nashville, featuring depictions of Pierce, Carrie Chapman Catt, Anne Dallas Dudley, Abby Crawford Milton, and Sue Shelton White.[7][8]

Pierce's niece, Nellie Griswold Francis, was also a prominent suffragist, as well as an anti-lynching and civil rights activist.[9]


Early life[edit]

Born June Frankie Seay, c 1864, her father was Frank Seay, a freedman, and her mother, Nellie Seay, was a house slave to Colonel Robert Allen, a member of the US House of Representatives from Smith County [10][6]


Frankie Pierce attended John G. McKee Freedmen's School, located in Nashville Tennessee.[6]


Frankie Pierce and Mattie E. Coleman, an African American physician and leading feminist in the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church, were among Tennessee's most active black suffragists, and helped to get 2,500 black women to vote in the 1919 Nashville municipal elections, the city's first election in which black women were eligible to vote.[11]

Tennessee Vocational School for Colored Girls[edit]

Pierce's desire to open a school for delinquent girls of color was realized when the Tennessee Vocational School for Colored Girls received approval by the Tennessee General Assembly on April 7, 1921, and officially opened at 2700 Heiman Street in Nashville on October 8, 1923.[6] The school provided academic and vocational training to girls aged 12–15, providing schooling through the ninth grade.[6] The school was largely supported by the City Federation of Colored Women's Clubs, for which Pierce served as an organizer.[11] Pierce served as the school's superintendent from its founding through 1939, and was followed by Mattie E. Coleman until Coleman's death in 1942.


The Frankie J. Pierce lecture series was organized by Tennessee women including State Senator Thelma Harper and Representative Lettie Galloway to celebrate African American women's history.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The African-American history of Nashville, Tennessee, 1780-1930: elites and dilemmas, by Bobby L. Lovett, University of Arkansas Press, 1999, page 232
  2. ^ Tennessee Through Time, The Later Years. Gibbs Smith. 1 August 2007. pp. 174–. ISBN 978-1-58685-806-3.
  3. ^ a b c d "Black History Month: J. Frankie Pierce founded school for girls | The Tennessean | tennessean.com". Archive.tennessean.com. 14 February 2014. Retrieved 7 September 2015.[dead link]
  4. ^ "Frankie Pierce & the Tennessee Vocational School for Colored Girls". Ww2.tnstate.edu. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
  5. ^ a b Miller-Perry, Rosetta (22 August 1995). "TAKING ON NEW HORIZONS: Don't overlook the role of black women in suffrage movement". The Tennessee Tribune. p. 3.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Sands of time: J. Frankie Pierce and the Tennessee Vocational School for Colored Girls (1923-1979)". The Tennessee Tribune. ProQuest. 24 February 1999.
  7. ^ "Women's Suffrage Monument Unveiled - Story". Newschannel5.com. Retrieved 27 August 2016.
  8. ^ "Nashville's Newest Monument Celebrates State's Role In Women's Winning The Right To Vote". Nashville Public Radio. Retrieved 27 August 2016.
  9. ^ "Mrs. Francis paid tribute by Council". The Tennessean. 28 November 1962. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
  10. ^ Yellin, Carol Lynn; Sherman, Janann (2016). The Perfect 36 : Tennessee Delivers Woman Suffrage (Second ed.). Memphis, Tennesee: Vote 70 Press. ISBN 9780974245652. OCLC 1002855678.
  11. ^ a b Smith, Jessie Carney, ed. (1996). Notable Black American Women, Book II. New York: Gale Research. p. 127.