Daisy Elizabeth Adams Lampkin was a powerhouse of whom every person in Pittsburgh should know. She was born in Washington, DC on August 9, 1883, and went to high school in Reading, PA. She moved to Pittsburgh in 1909, immediately throwing herself into the middle of all sorts of progressive causes in the area. She worked as a motivational speaker, primarily working with housewives who wanted to get involved in protesting for suffrage. She was quite fond of hats, and to many, many people she was known as “Aunt Daisy.”
Lampkin was highly active in the Lucy Stone Women’s Suffrage League, a suffrage association understanding the connected oppressions of race and gender, and one that supported Black leadership. She hosted her first Suffrage Tea in 1912, a fundraiser for campaigns for women’s suffrage. They continued through the years, raising hundreds of dollars for the effort.
Other organizations to which Lampkin belonged included the National Suffrage League and the National Association for Colored Women (where she was a national organizer and chair of the executive board). She was the first woman elected to the national board of the NAACP. It was Lampkin who recruited Thurgood Marshall to the NAACP’s legal team. She was the NAACP’s first field organizer, and planned out the NAACP’s 1931 conference in Pittsburgh. She also chaired the NAACP’s anti-lynching campaign for the entirety of Pennsylvania.
Lampkin was a founding member of the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania. She joined the Negro Voters League of Pennsylvania, and fundraised (and was vice chair of the Colored Voters Division) for the Republican National Committee. She also ran numerous fundraisers for the Urban League of Pittsburgh. She was responsible for raising literally millions of dollars, including $10,000 in memberships to the NAACP during the Great Depression, for the various organizations she supported.
Lampkin entered and won a contest for who could sell the most subscriptions to The Pittsburgh Courier, but they couldn’t afford to give her the prize money. She suggested they give her stock instead, and they agreed. She became a vital asset to the paper, both writing articles and continuing to fundraise for it, and eventually became vice president of the Courier Publishing Company. She used her connection to the Courier to keep issues she was passionate about in front of the readership.
Lampkin survived a stroke in 1964, and passed away on March 10, 1965. She was laid to rest in Homewood Cemetery. She was the first Black woman in Pennsylvania to be honored with an historical marker, when the Commonwealth placed one in front of her Webster Avenue apartment building in 1983.
Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus