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A Learning Guide for Black American Family Historians
Black women's suffrage in the United States 1830s - 1965
For Black women, our right to vote stands protected with the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. 2020 is the women's suffrage centennial, the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, and the 150th anniversary of the 15th Amendment — the amendment that granted Black men the right to vote — 2020 holds several major anniversaries in America's complex voting rights history. Acquiring the right to vote was just one item on a long civil rights agenda. Historically, attention has focused on the efforts of white movement leaders while overlooking Black women suffrage leaders.
Black Women Suffragists
Mary Ann Shadd Cary (1823–1893) an American-Canadian anti-slavery activist, journalist, publisher, teacher, and lawyer. She studied law at Howard University and graduated in 1883 as one of the first black female lawyers in the US.
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper (1825–1911) an American abolitionist, suffragist, poet, teacher, public speaker, and writer. Born in Baltimore, Md to free African American parents. Beginning in 1845, she was one of the first African-American women to be published in the United States.
Mary Church Terrell (1863–1954) One of the first African-American women to earn a college degree, and became known as a national activist for civil rights and suffrage. She taught in the Latin Department at the M Street School —the first African American public high school in the nation—in Washington, DC.
Nannie Helen Burroughs (1879-1961) Nannie Helen Burroughs was a black educator, orator, religious leader, civil rights activist, feminist, and businesswoman in the United States. Her speech "How the Sisters Are Hindered from Helping," at the 1900 National Baptist Convention in Virginia, instantly won her fame and recognition. In 1909, the she founded the National Training School for Women and Girls in Washington, DC and educated black women from around the world.
Ida B. Wells (1862–1931) was an American investigative journalist, educator, and early leader in the civil rights movement. She was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Daisy Elizabeth Adams Lampkin (August 9, 1883 – March 10, 1965) was an American suffragist, civil rights activist, organization executive, and community practitioner whose career spanned over half a century. Lampkin’s effective skills as an orator, fundraiser, organizer, and political activist guided the work being conducted by the National Association of Colored Women (NACW); National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); National Council of Negro Women and other leading civil rights organizations of the Progressive Era.
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