The Story of Amazing Black Suffragists

She Votes Now

#SheVotesNow is a project created by three amazing young women, Lanvy Phan, Jacqueline Dinh and Jordan Henderson. We present the full project here (to be updated as each weekly installment is published), so you can read more thoroughly about some amazing Black women who worked tirelessly throughout their lives, and against long odds,  for the advancement of women’s rights and the right for women to vote. This project was inspired by the 100th anniversary of the 19th Ammendent granting women the right to vote, as well as the recognition that not all women were actually able to enjoy that right at the time. We encourage you to read the stories of each of these women. They are powerful role models and leaders and we should celebrate their work.

As you read about these amazing women and their work you will notice how interconnected they are, and how much their work influenced, supported and fed off of the other women doing this work. As women we know it takes a village to make change. And passage of the 19th amendment could not have been achieved without the work of the women featured here. We celebrate them, and honor them with this series of profiles entitled #SheVotesNow.


Ida B Wells


Ida B. Wells

Ida B. Wells focused on exposing the African American experience in the South and the hidden truth behind lynchings. As a journalist, Well questioned the belief that lynching only done to punish Black men who raped white women. Wells dug deeper to look for economic and racist reasons for lynchings, shedding light on a subject many were afraid to confront. To read more about Ida B. Wells click here. Ida B. Wells

Harriet Forten Purvis 


Harriet Forten Purvis

After the Civil War, a number of African Americans and white abolitionists and suffragists joined together to work for universal suffrage forming the American Equal Rights Association in 1866. Harriet Forten Purvis joined other active members, including Sarah Remond and Sojourner Truth, in publicly advocating for voting rights for both African Americans and women. To read more about Harriet Forten Purvis click here. Harriet Forten Purvis


Septima P. Clark

Regarded as the “Queen of the Civil Rights Movement,” Septima Poinsette Clark worked hard to create a bridge between education and civil rights activism. She took on the role of a community teacher, and not only offered the opportunity of education for many African Americans, but also was a natural fighter for human rights and a leader for those who had been ignored. Septima P. Clark built the framework to incorporating activism in one’s life and created a legacy that would be continued in the works of other social activists.

As director of the Highlander Folk School in Monteagle Tennessee, Clark created a grassroots education center that focused on social justice. Before participating in the Montgomery bus boycott, Rosa Parks was known to have attended one of these workshops in 1955.

To read more about Septima P. Clark click here.Septima P. Clark 


Frances Ellen Walker Harper

In her famous speech, “We Are All Bound Up Together”, Frances emphasized the fact that Black women were suffering under both racism and sexism at the same time. She argued that because of this, they must be included in the fight for women’s suffrage. Frances Ellen Watkins Harper spent  career fighting for equal rights, job opportunities, and education for African American women. To read more about Frances Ellen Harper Watkins click here. Frances Ellen Harper Watkins

Juno Frankie Pierce


Juno Frankie Pierce

Suffrage leader Catherine Kenny invited Juno Frankie Pierce to speak at the May 1920 state suffrage convention that was held in the House chamber of the Tennessee capitol. Here she posed a question to a predominantly white audience: “What will the Negro women do with the vote?” She answered in a distinguished way ensuring that African American women would stand alongside the white women, fighting for the same, equal right of women’s suffrage. From there, African American women could later receive recognition in all forms of government, receive a state vocational school, a child welfare department of the state as well as receive more room in state schools. For more information about Juno Frankie Pierce click here. Juno Frankie Pierce

Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin


Josephine St Pierre Ruffin

Throughout her entire journey of fighting for women’s suffrage and civil rights, Josephine truly believed that African American women were fundamental to fighting for equality between sexes which would eventually lead to equality for all.  In 1893, Josephine founded the Woman’s Era Club. This was a club that focused on offering its members opportunities for self-improvement and promoted racial uplift, anti-lynching and civil rights. The club’s motto was “Make the World Better” and expressed Josephine’s strong belief that African American women were a major component of the fight for equal rights for all men and women living in America. To read more about Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin click here. Josephine St Pierre Ruffin

Elizabeth Piper Ensley

Elizabeth Piper Ensley


In 1904, Elizabeth Piper Ensley founded the Colored Women’s Republic Club (also known as the Association of Colored Women’s Clubs) and made its focus on educating women of color on how to vote and why they should vote. She used the club to unite various organizations across Colorado, pushed for greater equality and provided educational opportunities to many. To read more about click Elizabeth Piper Ensley.

Be a Pollworker

Whether it’s being greeted with a warm smile when you first walk into the building or being assisted by a friendly volunteer, the people who are always there to help you when you head into to vote are election workers, otherwise known as poll workers. Poll workers are an essential part of the voting experience, they do much more than just hand ballots and monitor voters. They also ensure that your voting experience is easy and efficient, that you know how to use the technology that might be there, as well as provide basic customer service. There’s a lot to being a poll worker, and during a time like this, it’s imperative that more and more people apply to be one! To learn more about poll workers click here.Pollworkers

Ways We Can Encourage Others to Vote

Most of us encounter more than two people every day whether it’s in person or digitally on social media or a video call. If we all take the time to remind our friends, loved ones, and even strangers to vote, voter-turnout will dramatically increase and during one of the most major elections our country has ever experienced, this is imperative. To see more ideas on how to motivate friends to vote, click here.spread the word

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Thank you for reading about these amazing Black women with us. We are inspired by their leadership and resolve to continue their work. Keep reading as we post new stories each Tuesday through Nov. 3 , 2020.

1 thought on “The Story of Amazing Black Suffragists”

  1. Pingback: The Celebration of Voting – Charlotte Women's Movement

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