FLEMING, LETHIA COUSINS (7 Nov. 1876-22 Sept. 1963) directed national campaign efforts among African American WOMEN for three Republican presidential candidates—Warren G. Harding (1920), Herbert Hoover (1936), and Alfred M. Landon (1940); she also led the National Association of Republican Colored Women (1920) and women's activities in Cleveland's 11th Ward for almost a decade (1920s). Born in Tazewell, Virginia, to James Archibald Cousins and Fannie Taylor Cousins, Fleming attended high school in Ironton, Ohio, and Morristown College in Tennessee. She then taught school in Virginia and West Virginia, where she was an active suffragist. On 21 February 1912, Fleming married THOMAS WALLACE (TOM) FLEMING and moved to Cleveland. It was his second marriage; he and Lethia had no children. By 1914, Lethia Fleming chaired the Board of Lady Managers of the Cleveland Home for Aged Colored People (see the ELIZA BRYANT CENTER). In 1929, after her husband's imprisonment, Fleming made a short-lived attempt to run for for his seat on CLEVELAND CITY COUNCIL. That election ousted her from ward leadership. From 1931-51, Fleming worked for the Cuyahoga County Child Welfare Board while continuing her involvement in POLITICS on a national level.
Fleming was a life member and local and national officer in the Improved Benevolent Protective Order of Elks of the World. She was a charter member of such local organizations as the TRAVELERS' AID SOCIETY, the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF COLORED PEOPLE, Cleveland branch, and the Phillis Wheatley Association, and served on the first board of the Negro Welfare Association (see URBAN LEAGUE OF CLEVELAND). The first woman trustee of MT. ZION CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH, Fleming also maintained an interest in the Baha'i faith. She is buried in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.
Fleming, Lethia Cousins, Manuscript Collection, WRHS.
Fleming, Thomas W. "My Rise and Persecution," (1932), WRHS.