What happened in the years before Black women got the vote?

Thursday, August 27, 2020 - 13:00 in Psychology & Sociology

When the 19th Amendment was ratified 100 years ago, it granted all women the right to vote — in theory. In reality, most Black women didn’t gain suffrage until the Voting Rights Act of 1965; during the intervening 45 years, they were stymied by poll taxes, literacy tests and other racist measures. The question of whether or not this anniversary can be called a celebration was amicably discussed in the virtual panel “100 Years of Suffrage: 45 Years of Waiting” on Aug. 13. The talk, a city event co-sponsored by city councilor and former Cambridge Mayor E. Denise Simmons and the Cambridge YWCA, included Kenvi Phillips, the first curator for race and ethnicity at the Radcliffe Institute’s Schlesinger Library. Simmons proposed that it might be more fitting to “commemorate” the anniversary than to “celebrate” it; instead of “glorifying … the small victories,” she said, it might be better to contextualize them and...

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