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Angeline “Annie” Stevens was born on 11 November 1861 in the rural Athens Township, Athens County, Ohio, to parents, Aquilla "Quill" and Elizabeth G. (Brackston/Braxton) Stevens, both born in the former slave states of Maryland and Virginia, respectively. According to the 1870 and 1880 census, their family was the only non-white residence within the Township, and the Stevens family endured extreme poverty and discrimination. Her father worked on the railroad as a stonecutter, and her mother raised Anna along with her ten siblings. Her father is listed as being unable to read or write.

 

During her childhood, black children were permitted to attend Ohio public schools with white children, which opened up many opportunities for Annie in here adolescent years. She was reported to be the first black graduate of Athens High School and was noted in the 06 June 1879 edition of the Athens Messenger article “High School Commencement,” as orating a speech titled "the Visible and Invisible" to the crowd. Her speech elaborated on the prevalent impact that invisible influences have on a life in comparison to visible influences. The newspaper was complimentary of the speech, stating, "the originality of thought exhibited in (Anna’s) composition gives basis for large expectation of the literary efforts of her maturer years. (She) is the first colored graduate of Athens High School and deserves great credit for her achievement and for having set an example to her race of what may be attained by intelligent and persistent effort..."

 

At the time of the 1880 census, Annie was listed as a schoolteacher, following her graduation from Athens College. Soon afterwards, she met Captain Cumberland "C.W." Posey, a Pittsburgh-based steamboat engineer and budding entrepreneur. They were married in Athens on 09 May 1883, and moved to Homestead, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania shortly after their union. Together, they had three children, including Beatrice (Posey) Baker, Seward Hayes "See" Posey, a Negro League executive and Homestead Grays booking agent, and Cumberland Willis "Cum" Posey, Jr., the 2006 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee, who are also buried in the Homestead Cemetery.

 

Her life in Homestead centered around social and charitable work. She was a member of the Ladies' Federation of Clubs, Old Ladies Home, the Aurora Club of Pittsburgh, and the Warren Methodist Episcopal Church. According to the PA Negro Business Directory, she took "an active interest in all movements tending to the advancement of the race." It also notes that she was a talented and multi-faceted artist; she decorated her home, along with many other wealthy estates, with many of her hand painted china, oil paintings, watercolor sketches, fine silk and lace work pieces. She would go on to hold yearly art classes for over a decade and acted as Superintendent of the Art Department of the National Association of Colored Women's Club.

Annie was 56 when she died on 20 August 1917 in the West Penn Hospital of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. She had lived in Homestead for 35 years. She was survived by her husband, C. W. Posey, Sr.; children, Beatrice (Evan) Baker, Seward Posey, and Cumberland Posey, Jr.; four grandchildren; mother, Elizabeth Stevens; siblings, Emmett Stevens, Lucetta (J. L.) Tate, Herman Stevens, Olive (Robert) Bell, Fredrick Stevens, and Samuel Stevens. Her funeral services, conducted by Rev. Dr. C. Y. Trigg, were held in the Warren M. E. Church on Wednesday, August 22, 1917.

Information and photos gathered from:

  • "High School Commencement," Athens Messenger, Athens, Ohio. 06 June 1879, p. ?

  • CW and Anna Posey, 1890s. Photos courtesy of the 1910 Pennsylvania Negro Business Directory.

  • "Mrs. Annie S. Posey," the Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 21 Aug 1917, p. 8.

  • "Mrs. C. W. Posey Dead," the New York Age, New York, New York. 23 Aug 1917, p. 2.

  • Ohio, U.S., County Marriage Records, 1774-1993. Year Range: 1880 - 1892.

  • Year: 1870; Census Place: Athens, Athens, Ohio; Roll: M593_1171; Page: 65A.

  • Year: 1880; Census Place: Athens, Athens, Ohio; Roll: 992; Page: 41D; Enumeration District: 003.

  • Year: 1900; Census Place: Homestead Ward 3, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1368; Page: 2; Enumeration District: 0402; FHL microfilm: 1241368