Friday, March 4, 2016

7 Facts You Didn’t Know About Women’s Struggle for the Vote

The Women’s Rights Movement was born out of and modeled after the Abolition Movement.  Women’s suffrage and abolition were often intertwined and advocated for by the same activists until 1868 when African-American men won citizenship, but women did not.  For there, the Suffrage Movement was divided into those who remained committed to both gender and racial equality and those who thought women’s rights should be prioritized.

“Suffragist” and “suffragette” are not interchangeable.  American women fighting for the vote identified themselves as suffragists, while British women chose to be called suffragettes.  Suffragette started out as a derogatory term.

The first ever women to run for president, Victoria Woodhull, ran in 1872 before women had won suffrage.

Many suffragists were jailed for picketing, often silently, outside the White House.  While in prison, they went on hunger strikes until they were violently force fed.

Wyoming was the first state to grant women the right to vote and the first to elect a female governor (Nellie Tayloe Ross in 1925).

The 19th amendment passed by one vote after a young legislator from Tennessee changed his vote to “yes” at the urging of his mother.

While Black women legally won the right to vote with white women in 1920, they faced social, political and economic barriers to citizenship that white women did not.  It would take another major movement—The Civil Rights Movement—and 40+ years of struggle before Black women achieved true enfranchisement.

--Kathleen Melendy, MWPC Intern