Ozeline Wise

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Ozeline Wise
Ozeline Pearson Wise (13270385933).jpg
Wise in 1978
ResidenceCambridge MA

Ozeline Pearson Wise (1903 - 1988) was the first black woman to be employed in the banking department of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, a position she held for 20 years.[1][2] She and her sister Satyra Bennett co-founded the Citizens Charitable Health Association and the Cambridge Community Center.[3]

Wise took the civil service exam but was denied a job with the post office because of her gender. She later took a job at the banking department of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the early 1950s. [4]

Personal life[edit]

Wise grew up in Michigan and Massachusetts. Her parents were Frances Lavina (Gale) and William B. Pearson, her grandfather Josiah Pearson had been an enslaved person in Jamaica.[5] She graduated from high school in Cambridge, Mass. She married John Wise in 1931 and they adopted a son, Hubert Smith, in 1961.[5] They lived in Billerica, Massachusetts in a house named Galehurst, which they ran as an inn that was listed in the Negro Motorist Green Book.[6][5] Wise died in 1988 and left her papers, as well as those of her sister and her father, to the Schlesinger Library.


  1. ^ "Cambridge Women's Heritage Project Database, W". City of Cambridge, MA. 2001-03-25. Retrieved 2019-01-29.
  2. ^ "Ozeline_Wise". Flickr account of Schlesinger Library. 2019-01-29. Retrieved 2019-01-29.
  3. ^ "Research Guides Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America". Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Harvard University. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  4. ^ The Black Women Oral History Project: Cplt.: Hill, Ruth Edmonds: The Black Women Oral History Project. Cplt. Berlin: De Gruyter. 1991. p. 309-320. ISBN 3-11-097391-X. OCLC 881295859.
  5. ^ a b c "Collection: Papers of Ozeline Wise, 1854-1988". HOLLIS for Archival Discovery. 2019-01-29. Retrieved 2019-01-29.
  6. ^ Green, Victor (Spring 1956). Negro Motorist Green Book. p. 74. Retrieved 30 January 2019.

External links[edit]