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FT-62152-14
Black Women's Disfranchisement and the Fight for Voting Rights, 1920-1945
Liette Gidlow, Wayne State University

Grant details: https://securegrants.neh.gov/publicquery/main.aspx?f=1&gn=FT-62152-14

The Sequel: The Fifteenth Amendment, the Nineteenth Amendment, and Southern Black Women's Struggle to Vote (Article)
Title: The Sequel: The Fifteenth Amendment, the Nineteenth Amendment, and Southern Black Women's Struggle to Vote
Author: Gidlow, Liette
Abstract: his essay reframes both the woman suffrage narrative and narratives of African American voting rights struggles by focusing on the experiences of southern African American women between the 1870s and the 1920s. It argues that the Fifteenth Amendment remained central to their suffrage strategy long after the failure of the “New Departure” to win court sanction caused white suffragists to abandon it. As white supremacists in the South worked at the turn of the century to disfranchise black men, leading African American suffragists such as Mary Church Terrell, Gertrude Bustill Mossell, and Adella Hunt Logan called for the enforcement of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments as well as the enfranchisement of black women. After the federal woman suffrage amendment was ratified in 1920, many southern African American women encountered the same barriers to voting—obstructionist tactics, threats, and violence—that black men had faced a generation earlier. In short, for aspiring African American voters in the South, the failure of the Nineteenth Amendment to secure voting rights for black women constituted a sad sequel to the failure of the Fifteenth Amendment to secure voting rights for black men. This interpretation offers three significant interventions. It pairs the Reconstruction-era Amendments with the Nineteenth Amendment, recognizing their shared focus on voting rights. It connects the voting rights struggles of southern African Americans across genders and generations. Finally, it finds that, for some women, the canonical “century of struggle” for voting rights continued long after the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified.
Year: 2018
Primary URL: https://doi-org.proxy.lib.wayne.edu/10.1017/S1537781418000051
Secondary URL: https://www-cambridge-org.proxy.lib.wayne.edu/core/journals/journal-of-the-gilded-age-and-progressive-era/article/sequel-the-fifteenth-amendment-the-nineteenth-amendment-and-southern-black-womens-struggle-to-vote/9EDB826096C0353E6FE12E3E345FC5CF
Access Model: Subscription
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era

Resistance After Ratification: The Nineteenth Amendment, African American Women, and the Problem of Female Disfranchisement after 1920 (Article)
Title: Resistance After Ratification: The Nineteenth Amendment, African American Women, and the Problem of Female Disfranchisement after 1920
Author: Gidlow, Liette
Abstract: Despite the "triumph" of the Nineteenth Amendment, many women, African American and otherwise, found that after 1920 they still could not vote. To understand their stories, we need to consider their experiences intersectionally, in the full, rich range of their complex identities and in the context of their families and communities. When we do, we can detect how their encounters with the electoral system changed the structure of the political system itself, an insight that challenges the consensus view that woman suffrage simply doubled the electorate without affecting political institutions in any meaningful way. Their stories make it clear that, for many women, the "century of struggle" lasted much longer than a hundred years Furthermore, the entrenchment of the white primary was a direct result of the adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment, a development that challenges the consensus view by historians and political scientists that woman suffrage did not change the political process in a significant way. The white primary became the new battleground for the voting rights fight and the prime target of the NAACP's legal crusade against disfranchisement; in the decades to follow, the white primary became the terrain on which African Americans in the South would win their long struggle to freely cast ballots.
Year: 2017
Primary URL: https://alexanderstreet.com/products/women-and-social-movements-united-states-1600-2000
Access Model: Subscription
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Women and Social Movements in the U.S., 1600-2000
Publisher: Alexander Street Press


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