Lila Meade was born in Richmond on February 4, 1865, the daughter of Richard Hardaway Meade and Kate Fontaine Meade. At the age of twenty-one, she married Benjamin Batchelder Valentine, a prosperous businessman. The couple's marriage was a happy one, with Benjamin Valentine actively supporting his wife's work on behalf of education and health-care reform, and woman suffrage. The couple had no children, and Benjamin Valentine died in 1919.
While working in Virginia schools, Valentine frequently saw children suffering from treatable illnesses, and she soon became interested in health-care reform. In 1902, she helped found the Instructive Visiting Nurse Association of Richmond (IVNA), and became the organization's president in 1904. The association targeted lower-income residents of Richmond, seeking to ensure that they had access to basic health-care services. Under Valentine's leadership, the IVNA led an initiative to help combat the then-common disease of tuberculosis. This initiative subsequently became a model for health-care reformers throughout Virginia.
Although by no means as controversial as when first proposed by reformers during the nineteenth century, woman suffrage remained a divisive issue across gender as well as racial lines. This was particularly true in the socially conservative South, where ideals of southern womanhood still dictated that white women focus on the home and family, and avoid the "male" realm of politics and government. Valentine and her fellow suffragists defied such expectations, asserting their right not only to speak about political subjects but also to vote in political contests.
February 4, 1865 - Lila Meade Valentine is born in Richmond.
1900 - Lila Meade Valentine, appalled by the inequities of Virginia's education system, which make it difficult for poor, African American, and female children to receive high quality instruction, forms the Richmond Education Association along with several other activists, including Mary-Cooke Branch Munford.
1900–1904 - Lila Meade Valentine serves as president of the Richmond Education Association (REA).
1902 - Lila Meade Valentine helps found the Instructive Visiting Nurse Association of Richmond (IVNA), and she becomes the organization's president in 1904. The association targets lower-income residents of Richmond, seeking to ensure that they have access to basic health-care services.
November 27, 1909 - A group of women, including Kate Waller Barrett, Kate Langley Bosher, Adèle Clark, Ellen Glasgow, Nora Houston, Mary Johnston, Lila Meade Valentine, and Sophie Gooding Rose Meredith, found the Equal Suffrage League of Virginia.
1912 - Lila Meade Valentine persuades a group of Richmond businessmen to form the Men's Equal Suffrage League of Virginia.
1913 - In a letter to Lila Meade Valentine, Mary Johnston defends black women and encourages their inclusion in the suffrage movement.
June 10, 1919 - Benjamin Batchelder Valentine, Lila Meade Valentine's husband, dies.
July 14, 1921 - Lila Meade Valentine dies.
1936 - The same General Assembly that had refused to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment in 1919 nonetheless places a memorial plaque in the State Capitol to honor Lila Meade Valentine.
Cite This Entry
- APA Citation:
Kent, H. Lila Meade Valentine (1865–1921). (2020, July 29). In Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved from http://www.EncyclopediaVirginia.org/Valentine_Lila_Meade_1865-1921.
- MLA Citation:
Kent, Holly. "Lila Meade Valentine (1865–1921)." Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities, 29 Jul. 2020. Web. READ_DATE.
First published: November 6, 2008 | Last modified: July 29, 2020