Nettie Craig Asberry was an extraordinary woman known for her work in fighting against racism in Tacoma Kansas. Asberry was a founding member of the Tacoma NAACP, a music teacher, and social worker.
Asberry was born in Leavenworth, Kansas, on July 15, 1865. She was the only free child of Violet Craig’s six children. Her father was William Wallingford, the owner of a plantation on which Violet was a slave. She began studying piano when she was eight years old and later on began composing her own music.
At the age of 13, she became interested in women’s suffrage and worked as a secretary for the Susan B. Anthony Club. She attended the University of Kansas where she graduated. She later received her Ph.D. degree from the Kansas Conservatory of Music and Elocution.
After completing her studies, Asberry worked as a music instructor and teacher in the all-black town of Nicodemus, Kansas.
She is believed to be the first African American woman in the United States to receive a doctorate degree. Her diploma was lost for a number of years but was discovered after her death.