Vibrant Lives. Vibrant Stories.
Frances Nash, 1895- 1987
This biography was originally released on March 22, 2021 as a part of our on going series titled: Vibrant Lives. Vibrant Stories.
Written by the Staff of The Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor Commission
Anyone who has stepped into the Michigan Street Baptist Church has heard of Reverend Nash, but his wife Frances Jackson Nash was equally influential.
Frances was one of six siblings born to her parents Samuel and Harriet in Buffalo, NY. She was one of two children who survived until adulthood- her brother Raymond Jackson would become an equally important member of the Michigan Street community.
Like her brother, who would go on to be a founding member of the Colored Musician’s Club, Frances had a deep love for music and the arts. She studied piano and music theory and took classes in sewing and ceramics. An ambitious woman hungry for knowledge, Frances received a certificate in Bible Studies, took courses in Business, and even attended lectures on health and nutrition. Her interest in nutrition would become a lifelong passion as she created and nurtured community gardens in the areas surrounding her home and church.
In 1892, Rev. J. Edward Nash moved to Buffalo to become the pastor of the Michigan Street Baptist Church where Frances’ parents were members. Two decades later, in 1925, he would marry Frances and they would begin their life together. They had one child, Jesse Edward Nash, in 1926 and resided in the family home just a block away from the Church.
Always a religious woman, it seemed only fitting that Frances would marry a pastor. She was known to say “In God I live and move and have my being.”
It makes sense that France would take her role as First Lady of the church seriously. Frances would memorize passages of the Bible and was often called upon to recite them. As the minister’s wife she became even more embedded in church organizations, acting as the Sunday School Superintendent, pianist for the Choir, and active participant in various governing bodies of the church.
In addition to her faith-based missions, Frances was also civically minded and was an active member in the Buffalo Branch NAACP, the YWCA, the Michigan Avenue branch of the YMCA, the Phyllis Wheatley Club, and the Book-lover’s club.
Mrs. Nash enjoyed a long life after her husband’s passing. She remained active in the community up until her death at the age of 92 in 1987. She is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery next to her beloved husband.