Women’s History Month: Mame Stewart Josenberger

Mame Stewart Josenberger
Photo courtesy of the National Cyclopedia of the Colored Race, Volume One; 1919.

Born: August 3, 1872 (although some sources say 1868) in Owego, New York

Died: September 29, 1964

Bio:  Businesswoman and activist Mame Stewart Josenberger started her career as an educator but, after her husband’s death, assumed control of a variety of businesses. She also served as president of the Arkansas Association of Colored Women and was on the advisory board of The Crisis, the renowned publication of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, in addition to involvement with a variety of local, state and national organizations.

In 1890, she relocated to Fort Smith and began teaching at Howard School, the only African-American high school in western Arkansas. After her husband’s death, Josenberger took over the family’s business, which included a funeral home; Josenberger Hall, an entertainment venue; a burial insurance company; and property in the Taborian Heights area of Little Rock. In 1920, Josenberger’s estimated worth was $30,000 (approximately $398,782.54 in 2019). 

You can learn more about the life of Mame Stewart Josenberger at the Encyclopedia of Arkansas.