Vol. 6, No. 2
February 2019

African American Women in the  
Struggle for the Vote, 1850 - 1920
by Rosalyn Terborg-Penn c 1998, 193 pages
Rosalyn Terborg-Penn in front of Anna J. Cooper exhibit at Anacostia Neighborhood Museum.
Reviewed by Sue Straus
"By a miracle the 19th Amendment  has been ratified.
We women have now a weapon
of defense which we have never
possessed before.  It will be a
shame and reproach to us if we
do not use it."
-Mary Church Terrell, 1920
This slim book is a call for more digging into the history of women of color who were part of the long struggle to bring universal suffrage to the U.S. The struggle continues as we look at polling places being moved out of minority areas, gerrymandered districts, etc.
Terborg-Penn does a good job of pointing out the various actions taken over the 15th Amendment and the split caused within the women's rights movement when some suffragists were willing to support black men getting suffrage before women did, while others were not willing to take a waiting stance.
The anti-suffrage women's movement by women is also given space in the debate. The racial, gender and class differences and its effect upon the struggle for human rights for all makes its way into the story.
Ida B. Wells-Barnett, an activist journalist who promoted the value of women's political mobilization, and anti-lynching crusader, is a figure in the book. She represented the first generation of Black women out of slavery, educated in Freedmen's Bureau schools .
Other women's stories show the overlap of other movements of the day; Naomi Talbert
(Anderson) was a poet and a member of the Women's Christian Temperance Union. She spoke at the 1869 National Woman Suffrage Convention held in Chicago. Her identification with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton caused censure by a segment of the Black population due to their opposition to former male slaves obtaining the suffrage before women.
Fannie (Frances) Barrier Williams, educator, club woman, political and women's rights activist worked in Chicago after her marriage. She joined the Illinois Women's Alliance and lectured about the need for Black women to vote. She was a co-founder of the National Association of Colored Women and also the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Williams was the only African American woman chosen to eulogize Susan B. Anthony at the National American Woman Suffrage Convention (The National Woman Suffrage Association merged with the American Woman Suffrage Association to form the aforementioned group in 1890.)

Suffragist Susan B. Anthony Fights for Equality
by Helen Ramirez-Odell
Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) is probably the best known suffragist in America.
Her birthday is February 15. When she was 17 she collected anti-slavery petitions and became an abolitionist. Later, she and Elizabeth Cady Stanton worked for passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to outlaw slavery.   They wanted full citizen rights for men and women regardless of race in the 14th and 15th Amendments and were very disappointed when women were not included. She and Elizabeth Cady Stanton also petitioned to get a law passed limiting liquor sales due to the effects of drunkenness on families. Because many petition signatures were from women, their petition was rejected. They decided that women had to get the vote so politicians would listen to them.  
Anthony worked tirelessly for women to get the right to vote although she was hanged in effigy, laughed at by Congress, ridiculed by the press and mocked in cartoons. She was on the road for 45 years giving hundreds of anti-slavery and women's suffrage speeches throughout the country. Anthony and Stanton initiated the American Equal Rights Association in 1866 and began publishing "The Revolution", a women's rights newspaper. Although she was an abolitionist, she and others objected to the word "male" in the Fourteenth Amendment. It passed in 1868 and guaranteed the right to vote to male citizens over 21 years of age.
They broke with Republican abolitionists, whose priority was black male suffrage and in 1869 founded the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) to demand that the Fifteenth Amendment enfranchise women. That same year the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA) was founded by Lucy Stone and others. AWSA was convinced that Republicans would support suffrage for women after black men achieved the right to vote. In 1870 the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified and affirmed that the right to vote shall not be denied on account of race, but it did not enfranchise women.
Anthony voted in her hometown of Rochester, New York, in 1872 and was arrested for doing so. She was put on trial and ordered to pay a fine, which she refused to pay but the judge did not imprison her. In 1890 the split in the women's suffrage associations was mended when NWSA and AWSA merged to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association. (NAWSA). Anthony was NAWSA president from 1892 to 1900.  
She visited the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, where 3000 people came to hear her speak. She encouraged Florence Kelley and Jane Addams in their work in Chicago.
The Nineteenth Amendment giving women the right to vote was finally ratified in 1920, fourteen years after Susan B. Anthony's death.  

Ida B. Wells Drive, formerly Congress Parkway,  
was officially renamed in Downtown Chicago    
By Margaret Fulkerson
After years of work from public and private stakeholders -- and the descendants of Wells herself -- to recognize the pioneering journalist and Civil Rights activist's contributions to Chicago, the unveiling ceremony became a celebration at the Harold Washington Library.
New York Times journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones spoke of Wells' fearlessness, and how, even in the face of danger, Wells never backed down.
"Imagine going to places where black men and women had just been lynched and asking questions," said Jones, adding that the people who committed the murders usually wrote the reports, and that the same holds true today. "At the time she died she was the most famous black woman in the world, but it took until 2019 for her to be recognized. This is a step to recognizing the true history of our country."
Wells' great-granddaughter, Michelle Duster, credited the League of Women Voters for helping the effort.
Board member Margaret Fulkerson represented WWHP at the event.
On March 21, 2019, the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW) will hold its International Women's Day Awards Dinner at the New Martinique Ballroom, 8200 S. Cicero Ave. starting with a reception at 5:30, followed by a dinner program at 6:45. Working Women's History Project president Jackie Kirley is among the honorees this year. For more information, call 312-738-6148 or 773-723-7871.

The program, Mother Jones in Heaven, originally scheduled for March 27th at the Irish American Heritage Center, has been canceled. It will be rescheduled at a later date. The Irish American Heritage Center will issue refunds to those who have purchased tickets.
SNCC Chicago will be holding a conference from April 4 - 7 titled "The Global Sixties: Social Movements for Civil Rights, Decolonization, Human Rights."  For more info, click on: 

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