Suffrage in 60 Seconds: African American Women and the Vote

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African-American women have been torn between two worlds for over two centuries fighting for universal suffrage.

Black men and white women in the late 1800s led civil rights organizations and set the agenda. They often excluded Black women from their organizations and activity. Black men wanted their support fighting racial discrimination and white women wanted their support to help change the inferior status of women in American society. However, Black reformers like Harriet Tubman, Mary Church Terrell, and Ida B Wells, just to name a few, understood both their race and gender was holding them back.

Because of their unique position, Black women focus more on human rights and universal suffrage rather than suffrage solely for African Americans or for women.

They also knew they could not do it alone because of how big and complex women's suffrage issues were. Black women hoped to work with mainstream organizations; however, the mainstream organizations did not address the challenges Black women faced because of their race. So Black women formed their own clubs and organizations where they could focus on attaining civil rights and women's rights for themselves,

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1 minute, 31 seconds

African American women often found themselves marginalized by both Black men and white women in the fight for equality. How did they ensure that their voices were heard? Ranger Titus tells the story.

Part of a series of articles titled Suffrage in Sixty Seconds.

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Last updated: September 1, 2020