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Sarah J. Smith Tompkins Garnet

(1831–1911) Sarah was an African-American educator and suffragist from New York City who was the first African-American female school principal in the New York City public school system. She led a long and distinguished career in the New York public schools, beginning as a teacher’s assistant in 1845 when she was fourteen years old and retiring as a principal in 1900.

An active supporter of woman suffrage and African American civil rights, Sarah Garnet was also a businesswoman and owned a seamstress shop in Brooklyn from 1883 to 1911. In the late 1880s, she helped found the Equal Suffrage Club, a Brooklyn-based club for black women. Additionally, Sarah served as superintendent of the Suffrage Department of the National Association of Colored Women.

As a member of the Equal Suffrage Club, Sarah supported the Niagara Movement, a predecessor to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In 1911, Sarah accompanied her sister, Susan Smith McKinney Steward, to London, England, for the first Universal Races Congress. (Contributed by Meg MacDonald)

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Green-Wood Cemetery

Lot 29541, Section 204, Grave 3

500 25th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11232

Kings County