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Gertrude Weil

(1879 - 1971)

Born to German Jewish parents in Goldsboro, North Carolina, Weil was educated in New York City and was the first North Carolinian to graduate from Smith College. Returning to North Carolina, she became active in the Women's Club Movement and served as an executive to the North Carolina Equal Suffrage League, beginning in 1915.  Her views were quite radical for a woman in the conservative South and she took leadership positions during an era - following the lynching of Leo Frank in 1913 - when many southern Jews maintained a low profile. she went on to lead her own town's chapter of the League of Women Voters, the North Carolina Association of Jewish Women and the North Carolina Interracial Committee. She fought for voter education, protective legislation for women and children and election reform.  She died in 1971 in the same house in which she had been born.

Sources: Jewish Women's Archive