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Our annual Black History Program is on Sunday February 23, 2020 at 1:00PM. The theme is “African Americans and the Vote”. The keynote speaker will be our own Bro. Mitchell Brown, Attorney-at-law.
Please join us for this most insightful Black History celebration in regard to voting. We look forward to your attendance as we approach this critical election year. A delicious “soul food” dinner will be served following the program.
The Suffrage Movement: Black Women’s Fight for Inclusion. The women’s suffrage movement started in the 1840’s among wealthy white women while most Black women were enslaved. Therefore, equal rights for ALL women was not the focus or goal. Long after slavery ended, Black women continued to face resistance in their quest to be included in suffrage organizations that were dominated by white women. Black women were barred from participating in conferences and discouraged from participating in clubs. As a result, Black women formed their own suffrage clubs. In 1913, Ida B. Wells formed the Alpha Suffrage Club, which was the first all-African American suffrage club. Ida Wells, Sojourner Truth, and others had to fight both color barriers and sexism in their fight for equality. Even though the nineteenth amendment technically gave ALL women the right to vote in 1920, Black women in the South did not realistically gain the right to vote until 1965 when the Voting Rights Act was passed.
Black Women Suffragists in the NAACP. After the Civil War, the Fifteenth Amendment gave black men the right to vote. However, women still were not allowed to vote. The early women’s suffrage movement was led by Susan B. Anthony, who focused her efforts on recruiting and organizing social elite White women. As a result, black women’s concerns about voting were not addressed. When the NAACP was founded in 1909,
black women were active in the leadership of that organization. Thus, the NAACP gave black women a platform for expressing their concerns about women’s suffrage. It was the combined efforts of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) led by Susan B. Anthony and the black women of the NAACP that ultimately led to the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, which granted ALL women the right to vote.
The Persistence of Black Women in the Civil Rights Movement. It is important to note and understand the accomplishments of Black women during the Civil Rights movement and how they worked to shape both the direction of this country and the focus of the Black community. Black women had to overcome sexism within the Civil Rights movement when they chose to step forward to organize and direct various activities. Nevertheless, they blazed trails and pushed forward. Five of the most notable Black Civil Rights activist women of the 20th century were: Ella Jo Baker; Septima Poinsette Clark; Fannie Lou Hammer; Dorothy I. Height; and Coretta Scott King. Those women laid the groundwork for the road that Stacey Abrams (who recently ran for governor of Georgia) and Senator Kamala Harris (who recently ran for president) are walking at this moment.
The Houston 19 And The Road To Justice. Three historic events relating to suffrage were: the fifteenth amendment (which theoretically gave Black men the right to vote); the nineteenth amendment (which theoretically gave ALL women the right to vote); and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In 2018, the so-called “Houston 19” became beneficiaries of those historic events. “Houston 19” refers to nineteen African American women who were running for separate local judicial positions in Harris County, Texas (Houston area). Since there were a total of fifty-nine separate judicial positions on the ballot, African American women were vying for a significant number of the available judicial positions. Of the nineteen African American women running for judicial positions, seventeen were elected as judges in various courts; the remaining two African American women, who lost in their bid to become appellate court judges, continued in their roles as district court judges.