Eugenia Lockhart

Eugenia Louise Lockhart, O.B.E., was the secretary of the Women’s Suffrage Movement and secretary of the Women’s Branch of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP). It was her love of reading and writing that led Eugenia to serve as secretary of the Movement and the PLP. She was active in fundraising and organizing for both groups.

She was born to Horace and Helen Wilson on June 17, 1908 at Duncan Town, Ragged Island. At the age of twelve she served as monitor (assistant teacher) of the government All-Age School at Duncan Town.

The role of the women who comprised the Movement cannot be minimized. This body of women demanded the attention of the House of Assembly by presenting petitions and picketing in the Public Square and around the House for the right to vote. Throughout the 1950s these women were led by Eugenia Lockhart, Mary Ingraham, Georgiana Symonette, Mabel Walker, Doris Johnson, and others.

Mrs. Lockhart and Doris Johnson were the two suffragettes who accompanied H. M.Taylor to London in 1960 to present the case for universal adult suffrage to the Secretary of State to the Colonies. In 1961, Parliament passed legislation to enable women to vote and sit in the legislature of The Bahamas. In the 1962 General Election, women voted for the first time, and by 1967 black women had organized themselves into a voting bloc. It was this bloc which significantly impacted the Progressive Liberal Party’s victory that ushered in Majority rule.

The foresight and organizing capacity of Mrs. Lockhart and the other suffragettes were pivotal in the move to universal adult suffrage in The Bahamas. Mrs. Lockhart’s husband Captain Edward Lockhart and their children shared her efforts for women’s rights. Mrs. Lockhart was appointed to the Order of the British Empire and was made Stalwart Councilor of the PLP.

 Adapted from The 100 Most Outstanding Bahamians of the 20th Century