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Black Women, The Right To Vote And The 19th Amendment (Rebroadcast)

The 19th Amendment was ratified 100 years ago this week.
The 19th Amendment was ratified 100 years ago this week.

The year 2020 will be remembered for a lot of reasons, but one milestone we can’t forget is the centennial of the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment. On Aug. 18, 1920, its newfound existence guaranteed women the constitutional right to vote.

The Nineteenth Amendment didn’t start or end the fight for women’s suffrage, however. That fight was long and many of its earliest activists didn’t live to cast their ballots. Black women were among the first suffragettes, yet they have continued to face barriers to voting for decades.

As Liza Mundy writes in Smithsonian Magazine:

Many histories of the suffragist movement end there—but so much more was still to come. Some states disenfranchised women—particularly black and immigrant women—by instituting poll taxes, literacy tests and onerous registration requirements. And many women didn’t yet see themselves as having a role, or a say, in the public sphere. People “don’t immediately change their sense of self,” says Christina Wolbrecht, a political scientist at the University of Notre Dame. “Women who came of political age before the 19th Amendment was ratified remained less likely to vote throughout their entire lives.”

We’re talking about the Nineteenth Amendment, the suffragist movement and the Black women it forgot.

Copyright 2020 WAMU 88.5

Morgan Givens, Sasha-Ann Simons