A Centennial Reflection 

My childhood was full of discussions about social issues, racial struggles, and the historical realities of oppression and inequality. The adults in my world were educated and politically astute and I always knew that Ida B. Wells was my father’s grandmother, my great-grandmother.

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Michelle Duster
The Final Desperate Battle for Suffrage in Tennessee

Everyone knew that Tennessee was a dangerous place to stage the decisive battle for ratification of the 19th Amendment, but the suffragists had no choice. It was their last, best hope to secure ratification before the fall 1920 national elections; it was their only feasible prospect for gaining the elusive 36th ratification state to make women’s suffrage part of the Constitution.

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Elaine Weiss
“To the wrongs that need resistance:” Carrie Chapman Catt’s Lifelong Fight for Women’s Suffrage

When Carrie Lane Chapman Catt was 13-years-old and living in rural Charles City, Iowa, she witnessed something that would help to decide the course of her life. Her family was politically active and on Election Day in 1872, Carrie’s father and some of the male hired help were getting ready to head into town to vote. She asked her mother why she wasn’t getting dressed to go too. Her parents laughingly explained to their daughter that women couldn’t vote.

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Mary Church Terrell: Black Suffragist and Civil Rights Activist

Born into slavery in Memphis, Tennessee during the Civil War, Mary Church Terrell became a civil rights activist and suffrage leader. Coming of age during and after Reconstruction, she understood through her own lived experiences that African-American women of all classes faced similar problems, and she worked tirelessly for racial justice and gender equality.

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Alison M. Parker
Should We Care What the Men Did?

Imagine what it must have meant for “the thinking men of our country, the brains of our colleges, of commerce and literature,” in suffrage leader Carrie Chapman Catt’s phrase, to involve themselves with such gusto in a campaign designed to dilute their preeminence at the ballot box.

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Brooke Kroeger
The Very Queer History of the Suffrage Movement

When lawyer and suffragist Gail Laughlin discovered that her evening gown had no pockets in it, she refused to wear it until the pockets were sewn on. Objecting to the restrictive nature of women’s clothing was just one of the ways that suffragists sought to upend the status quo in the early twentieth century.

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Wendy Rouse
Jeannette Rankin: One Woman, One Vote

Only one woman in American history – Congresswoman Jeannette Rankin – ever cast a ballot in support of the 19th Amendment. In 1916, Rankin represented the citizens of Montana in the U.S. House of Representatives, and she wanted American women nationwide to enjoy the benefits of suffrage.

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Winifred Conkling