Grand Divisions

Tennessee Equality Project seeks to advance and protect the civil rights of our State’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in each Grand Division.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Memphis to celebrate Women's History Month by remembering Freda Ward & Alice Mitchell

Why would we want to remember two teens at the center of a lesbian murder/love tryst during Women’s History Month? 

At 12:30 PM on Saturday, March 5,  Meristem Book Club will sponsor a commemoration of Memphians Freda Ward and Alice Michell at Elmwood Cemetery, where both are buried.  March 5 will be the 137th anniversary of Freda’s birth.  

Freda Ward and Alice Mitchell were at the center of one of the most infamous trials of the nineteenth century.  Their tragic story has relevance for us today in light of bullying of LGBT teens and the continuing controversy over gay marriage

Freda and Alice were high school sweethearts who  planned to run away to St. Louis and be married.  Their plans were discovered by family who separated them until, in January of 1892, Alice killed Freda at the riverfront.   The resulting insanity trial made newspaper headlines across the country, and was written up in numerous psychological journals.  Plays and a song were written about the duo - but few Memphians have heard of them today.    

Alice was found guilty of insanity, in part because she believed that she and another young woman could marry and live independent lives as man and wife.  She was committed to the Western State Hospital for the Insane at Bolivar, where she died several years later.  

Meet at the Cottage in Elmwood
Cemetery in Memphis
The public is invited to join members of the Meristem Book Club to commemorate the tragedy of Freda and Alice and reflect on how their lives inform our own choices today.  The commemorative group will meet at the Cottage at Elmwood Cemetery  at 12:30 pm and proceed to Freda Ward’s burial site for a brief program.  Elmwood  is located at 824 South Dudley.

For questions about the Meristem Book Club commemorative event, contact Audrey May at 662-202-7757.  Meristem Book Club is a women’s book club which meets regularly at the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center to discuss books by women and LGBT writers.  Recently, the group has added events of relevance to women’s history and culture..  For more information about the Meristem Book Club see

For information about or directions to Elmwood Cemetery, see .

For more information contact:

Audrey May
Meristem Book Club
662-202-7757 cell phone

1 comment:

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