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 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
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 WATKINS 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
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
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
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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.