10/2/20 – Important Moments In The Women’s Suffrage Movement

Suffrage protestors from New York stand outside the White House to support the rights of women to vote.

During this election, the importance of voting is becoming a critical issue. In August of 1920, women won the right to vote in the United States.

American women began campaigning for the right to vote in the 1820’s. Part of their inspiration arose from Native Americans such as the Iroquois who had long recognized the importance of women in decision making. These tribes afforded rights to women, including the right to vote and depose leaders, and had done so for centuries. Many leaders in the suffrage movement met with Native Americans and one of the early leaders, Matilda Joslyn Gage eventually became an honorary member of the Mohawk Nation.

Another important date in the women’s suffrage movement is 1848. For two days in July of that year, close to 300 delegates met and adopted 11 resolutions, including the right to vote, under what’s known as the Seneca Falls Convention. They issued a Declaration of Sentiments which mirrored the US Declaration of Independence, proudly announcing that all men AND women were created equal. It would take 72 more years before women finally achieved the right to vote.

Despite its ratification, the Declaration of Sentiments that called for women’s suffrage in 1848 left out a large group of women. Organizers of the women’s suffrage movement would not advocate for black women in their efforts to attain equal voting rights. While some states did provide for black women to vote, it wasn’t until 1965 that black women nationwide could vote without a poll tax or literacy test. Leaders like Ida B. Wells and Mary Church Terrell were not recognized for their efforts to attain these rights until well after they died.