19th Amendment Women  Vote

Women Suffrage Movement

By Mary Love

The Suffragist Movement was a fight for the right of women to vote. The 15th amendment of 1870 gave all citizens of the United States the right to vote. But “all” really did not mean “all.” Men gained the right to vote, and Thomas Mundy Peterson was the first African-American male to vote after the amendment was passed. Women were not included or granted the right to vote until August 26, 1920 – fifty years later. This date is known as Women’s Equality Day. Women had to fight to obtain the voice of the vote. This fight was led by personalities such as Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and many others. They started organizations to include the American Equal Rights Association (1866), the National Woman Suffrage Association (1869), the American Woman Suffrage Association (1869), the National American Woman Suffrage Association (1890), the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (1873), and others. Women of color were often excluded from these organizations, but the fight for the right to vote was waged by African- American women. They joined the clubs when allowed or formed their own organizations.

You should note that various clubs and organizations were formed by African-American women. These women did not have the suffragist movement as their single agenda. They were concerned with the fight for the rights and justice for people of color on all fronts. Many are not known, but the following should be mentioned although they have not been honored on a stamp: Mary Ann Shadd Cary, Marie Foster, Margaret Murray Washing- ton, Nannie Helen Burroughs, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Hallie Quinn Brown, Florence Spearing Randolph, Mary Alice Lynch, and many more. Cary organized the Colored Woman’s Progres- sive Franchise Association in 1880 as an auxiliary of the Nation- al Woman Suffrage Association. While a student at Howard, Cary led a group of sixty Black women and White women to the courthouse accompanied by Frederick Douglass. Registering to vote was allowed, but she could not vote.

 

Frederick Douglass and W. E. B. DuBois were very active voices in the suffrage movement. It was not until the passing of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that African Americans really received the right to vote – almost 100 years after the pass- ing of the 15th amendment and 45 years after the passing of the 19th amendment. The fight from 1870/1920 to 1965 was filled with racist obstacles such as literacy tests, poll taxes, reading issues, threats, beatings, lynchings, Bloody Sunday, attacks on peaceful marchers, and the list goes on. However, the Act was signed by President Lyndon Baines Johnson to insure the rights granted in the 14th, 15th, and 19th amendments were available to all. The 37¢ 1965 Voting Rights Act stamp was issued by the United States Postal Service on August 30, 2005 as one of ten stamps on the “To Form a More Perfect Union” souvenir sheet (Scott # 3937b). The image of the youth comes from a photograph taken by Bruce Davidson during the 1965 March from Selma to Montgomery. Determination and the desire to be treated equally with a voting voice was the driving force behind the sacrifices and blood shed for the right to vote. Too much has been done for African-American citizens to refuse to register to vote and to be irresponsible in exercising the right to vote in the 21st century. We encourage you to Register to VOTE and exercise your right -- V O T E

Issued 1970

Celebrate the Century - 1920s: 19th Amendment

Issued 2020

Issued 1995 

Celebrating the 75th Anniversary