By Ann D. Gordon, Bettye Collier-Thomas, John H. Bracey, Arlene Voski Avakian, Joyce Avrech Berkman
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Additional info for African American Women and the Vote, 1837-1965
Collectively the essays capture the illusive history of African American women's political travails and triumphs. Methodology How do we go about reconstructing the history of African American women's involvement in the mainstream woman suffrage movement and specifically their own struggle to vote? As a student of the black role in the woman suffrage movement, I began the process in the early 1970s initiating research for my dissertation at Howard University. In the 1977 study that resulted, "Afro-Americans in the Struggle for Woman Suffrage," I recovered scores of blacks, both men and women, who had publicly supported the woman suffrage movement.
During the 1890s, in the middle of the second generation of woman suffrage, a third strategy developed among mainstream suffragists as some form of literacy requirement was legislated in eight states. Among woman suffrage advocates, this trend was known as "educated suffrage" and was obviously meant to limit the black and foreign voters. Some suffragists, therefore, adopted the scheme of trying to convince the white male electorate that the ballot should be extended to the middle-class, educated white women of the nation.
This overview sets the stage for the historical reconstruction in the essays that follow, wherein lost African American women suffragists are recovered and their goals, ideas, and coalitions placed within the framework of the wider political goals of Americans during the mid twentieth century. The expansion of suffrage during the antebellum years was a phenomenon experienced by white males, not women and black men. White manhood suffrage, not universal suffrage, was symbolic of the growing democratic process.
African American Women and the Vote, 1837-1965 by Ann D. Gordon, Bettye Collier-Thomas, John H. Bracey, Arlene Voski Avakian, Joyce Avrech Berkman