Anne Brancato Wood (1903-1972) was the first Democratic woman to be elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and the only woman ever elected as speaker pro tempore. When not serving in office, Wood operated a telephone answering service, and was a real estate and insurance broker. She remained politically active and involved herself in civic organizations in the Philadelphia area until her death. Wood introduced or sponsored legislation of particular concern to African Americans, including the Pawnbrokers’ Act, the Hasty Marriage Act, the Mothers’ Assistance Fund Law, the Minimum Wage and Hour Law for Women, and supported the creation of more playgrounds in the congested districts of Philadelphia, an Anti-Eviction Bill, and a bill to protect the property rights of women.


In February 1974, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission sponsored an exhibit entitled the "History of Black Legislators in Pennsylvania’s General Assembly," which contained photographs and brief biographical sketches of Black legislators who had served in Harrisburg since W. Harry Bass became Pennsylvania’s first "Negro" representative in 1911. The legislators cited are: Scholley Pace Alexander, William Allmond, Matt S. Anderson, Sarah Anderson, Herbert Arlene, John C. Asbury, Harry W. Bass, James Barber, Lucien E. Blackwell, John H. Brigerman, Homer S. Brown, Junius Emerson, Crystal Byrd Fauset, Samuel Floyd, William Harvey Fuller, William Gray, Charles P. Hammock, Freeman Hankins, Garfield B. Harris, John W. Harris, Samuel B. Hart, Howard M. Henry, Dennie W. Hoggard, Samuel D. Holmes, Herbert Holt, K. Leroy Irvis, Walker K. Jackson, Ralph T. Jefferson, Joel Johnson, Theodore Johnson, Frances P. Jones, Paul F. Jones, Paul M. Lawson, Mitchell W. Melton, Lewis M. Mintess, Susie Monroe, Lee Myhan, Frank L. Oliver, J. Thompson Pettigrew, Hobson R. Reynolds, E. Washington Rhodes, Joseph Rhodes, David P. Richardson Jr., Hampton Riley, Ulysses Shelton, Marshall Shepard, Jesse J. Shields, Andrew F. Stevens, Thomas P. Trent, Edwin F. Thompson, William A. Upshur, Earl Vann, Hardy William, and Edward C. Young.

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