Leila Amos Pendleton was a prominent community activist and a teacher in Washington’s public schools. She was the founder and president of the Alpha Charity Club of Anacostia and the Social Purity Club of Washington, DC.
Pendleton was born in 1860 in Washington, DC where she attended the local schools. After completing her own education, she dedicated her work to helping young African Americans receive a good education.
Based on her personal experiences as an educator and activist, Pendleton wrote A Narrative of the Negro, published in 1912. She considered this book, which offers a comprehensive and readable history of blacks in Africa, the Caribbean, and the United States, to be one of her most noteworthy accomplishments.
However, Pendleton’s is widely-known for her school textbook, entitled A Narrative of the Negro (1971), which was used as a textbook in Washington, DC public schools. The book was advertised throughout the Crisis magazine in the 1920s as one of the suggested reading for “dealing with the Negro problem.”
Pendleton’s other works, included An Alphabet for Negro Children (Mather, 1915), Our New Possession-‘The Danish West Indies (1917), a published autobiography about Frederick Douglass (1921a), and two short stories published in the Crisis magazine, “The Foolish and the Wise: Sallie Runner is Introduced to Socrates” (1921b).