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Women's Suffrage Centennial Celebration: Obstacles for Women of Color

Influence of Native American Clan Mothers

“It was our grandmothers who showed white women what freedom and liberty really looked like,” Herne said. “They began to witness for themselves a freedom that they had never seen before.”

- Sally Roesch Wagner, earned one of the first doctorates for Women's Studies in the U.S. at the University of California at Santa Cruz. 

Read the Washington Post's full article, "Women of Color were Cut out of the Suffragist Story," about the influence of Native Americans to spark the Feminist and Women's Rights Movement in the U.S. 


Embracing Native Traditions with the Right to Vote - News from Native California

Crossing the Divide from Citizen to Voter: Tribal Suffrage in Montana, 1880-2016 - Richmond L. Clow

Women Not In the Picture

The Bold Accomplishments of Women of Color Need to Be a Bigger Part of Suffrage History -

  • An upcoming Smithsonian exhibition, “Votes For Women,” delves into the complexities and biases of the nature of persistence

Which Women?

Women's Rights Issues of the Age

"I think that Stanton helped create a rhetoric or a political ideology where when we say women — and often when the media says women in terms of feminist goals, we think middle-class, white women. It's never been the case that the contemporary women's movement was all white or middle class. This kind of arrogance in assuming that you can declare which are the women's rights issues of an age has always struck me as an ongoing problem."

Lori Ginzberg, Professor of History and Women's Studies at Penn State University and author of Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Low Income Women

"Low-income women who lack photo identification may face barriers like limited transportation and financial costs associated with accessing other identifying documents like birth certificates and marriage licenses; once time, travel, and the costs of documents are factored in, the cost associated with a "free ID card" can range from $75 to $175; when legal fees are included, the costs can be as high as $1,500 (Sobel 2014)."

Although this was a momentous day in women’s history, it is important to recognize that not all women were actually guaranteed the right to vote after the 19th Amendment was passed. For decades after, Black people, Asian American women, Native women, LGBTQ+ women, women with disabilities, low-income women, and more faced obstacles to exercising their right to vote – and to this day, many still face huge obstacles to make sure that their voice is heard at the polls.

Women of Color in U.S. Elected Office


African American Women and the Vote, 1837-1965 - Ann Gordon and Bettye Collier-Thomas

  • Written by leading scholars of African American and women's history, the essays in this volume seek to reconceptualize the political history of black women in the United States by placing them at the center of our thinking. The book explores how slavery, racial discrimination, and gender shaped the goals that African American women set for themselves, their families, and their race and looks at the political tools at their disposal. By identifying key turning points for black women, the essays create a new chronology and a new paradigm for historical analysis.