August 26, 2020 marked 100 years since the landmark ratification and adoption of the 19th Amendment, which cemented a promise into the U.S. Constitution that “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” As you have seen, Our JUST BEGIN Magazine September edition is about celebrating women's diversity, individuality, and recognizing women who inspire, mentor, and empower other women in the community. But in this post, we also want to take the time to recognize the women’s suffrage in 1920 and remember and honor the women who fought for our voting and equality rights. Women gained the right to vote in 1920 with the passage of the 19 Amendment. On Election Day in 1920, millions of American women exercised this right for the first time. For almost 100 years, women (and men) had been fighting for women’s suffrage: They had made speeches, signed petitions, marched in parades, and argued over and over again that women, like men, deserved all of the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
Here's a brief history of the Women's Suffrage, The women’s suffrage movement was a decades-long fight to win the right to vote for women in the United States. It took activists and reformers nearly 100 years to win that right, and the campaign was not easy: Disagreements over strategy threatened to cripple the movement more than once. But on August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was finally ratified, enfranchising all American women and declaring for the first time that they, like men, deserve all the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
Here is the list of the brave women who fought for our vote and our equal rights and the powerful impacts they made.
Susan B. Anthony
Susan B. Anthony was the best-known women's suffrage proponent of her time, and her fame led to her image gracing a U.S. dollar coin in the late 20th century. She wasn't involved in the 1848 Seneca Falls Women's Rights Convention that first proposed the idea of suffrage as a goal for the women's rights movement, but she joined soon after. Anthony's most prominent roles were as a speaker and strategist.
Alice Paul became active in the women's suffrage movement in the 20th century. Born well after Stanton and Anthony, Paul visited England and brought back a more radical, confrontational approach to winning the vote. After women succeeded in 1920, Paul proposed an Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Lucy Stone was a leader in the American Woman Suffrage Association when the movement split after the Civil War. This organization, considered less radical than Anthony and Stanton's National Woman Suffrage Association, was the larger of the two groups. Stone is also famous for her 1855 marriage ceremony that renounced the legal rights that men usually gained over their wives upon marriage and for keeping her last name after marriage.
Ida B. Wells
Known more for her work as an anti-lynching journalist and activist, Ida B. Wells-Barnett was also active for women's suffrage and critical of the larger women's suffrage movement for excluding Black women.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Elizabeth Cady Stanton worked closely with Anthony, lending her skills as a writer and theorist. Stanton was married, with two daughters and five sons, which limited the time she could spend traveling and speaking. She and Lucretia Mott were responsible for calling the 1848 Seneca Falls convention, and she was the primary writer of the convention's Declaration of Sentiments. Late in life, Stanton stirred up controversy by being part of the team that wrote "The Woman's Bible," an early women's rights supplement to the King James Bible.
Frances E.W. Harper
As a poet, author, and lecturer, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper was a household name in the nineteenth century. Not only was she the first African American woman to publish a short story, but she was also an influential abolitionist, suffragist, and reformer that co-founded the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs.
Mary Church Terrell
Mary Eliza Church Terrell was a well-known African American activist who championed racial equality and women’s suffrage in the late 19thand early 20thcentury. An Oberlin College graduate, Terrell was part of the rising black middle and upper class who used their position to fight racial discrimination. As National Association of Colored Women (NACW) president, Terrell campaigned tirelessly among black organizations and mainstream white organizations, writing and speaking extensively. She also actively embraced women’s suffrage, which she saw as essential to elevating the status of black women, and consequently, the entire race.
Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters, Christabel Pankhurst and Sylvia Pankhurst, were leaders of the more confrontational and radical wing of the British suffrage movement. Emmeline, Christabel, and Sylvia Pankhurst were major figures in the founding of the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) and are often used to represent the British history of women's suffrage.
Carrie Chapman Catt
When Anthony stepped down as president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) in 1900, Carrie Chapman Catt was elected to succeed her. She left the presidency to care for her dying husband and was elected president again in 1915. She represented the more conservative, less confrontational wing that Paul, Lucy Burns, and others split from. Catt also helped found the Women's Peace Party and the International Woman Suffrage Association.
Lucretia Mott was at a meeting of the World's Anti-Slavery Convention in London in 1840 when she and Stanton were relegated to a segregated women's section though they had been elected as delegates. Eight years later, they with the aid of Mott's sister Martha Coffin Wright, brought together the Seneca Falls Women's Rights Convention. Mott helped Stanton draft the Declaration of Sentiments endorsed by that convention. Mott was active in the abolitionist movement and the wider women's rights movement. After the Civil War, she was elected the first president of the American Equal Rights Convention and tried to hold the women's suffrage and abolitionist movements together in that effort.
Millicent Garrett Fawcett
Millicent Garrett Fawcett was known for her "constitutional" approach to gaining the vote for women, compared with the more confrontational approach by the Pankhursts. After 1907, she headed the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (NUWSS).
Lucy Burns, a Vassar graduate, met Paul when they were active in the British suffrage efforts of the WSPU. She worked with Paul in forming the Congressional Union, first as part of the NAWSA, and then on its own. Burns was among those arrested for picketing the White House, imprisoned at Occoquan Workhouse, and force-fed when the women went on a hunger strike. Bitter that many women refused to work for suffrage, she left activism and lived a quiet life in Brooklyn.
So, let's remember and honor the women who fought for our voting and equal rights!
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