Fighting for the rights of all…

Nettie Craig Asberry

Nettie Craig Asberry was the only free child born to Violet Craig in Kansas in 1865. A precocious child she played the piano and composed music at eight, and at 13 after meeting Susan B. Anthony, she became the secretary for the local suffragists club. In 1883, Nettie received her Ph.D. from the Kansas Conservatory of Music and Elocution, making her the first African American woman to receive a doctorate degree. Nettie spent her life teaching music and became the first organist and musical director at the First African Methodist Episcopal Church. Teaching music to all children many considered her home a “melting-pot” and she continued to play the piano every day of her life. While music allowed Nettie to bridge the gap of race, that was not enough. In 1913, she founded the Tacoma chapter of the NAACP. She led the fight against legislation to ban interracial marriage, the showing of Birth of a Nation, and the segregation of Ft. Lewis. In her honor, Tacoma formed the Nettie Asberry Cultural Club promoting black history in schools and communities. Dr. Nettie Asberry died in 1968 at 103 years of age, the following year the Mayor of Tacoma named May 11, 1969 Dr. Nettie Asberry Day. Dr. Asberry shows us to stand strong with our own truth.