THE TRIUMPH of a black man achieving a seat in the Senate, and another's dream of joining him there, did not hide the scars of slavery. Black Southerners were burdened with handicaps that the vote alone would not cure. To be sure, they had heard enough about politics from their white folks to know of its potency, and when the polls were open to them, they voted with an eagerness that was astonishing. But people like Harriet Tubman, with their memory of destitute, terrified fugitives, knew that a legacy of deprivation called for more than just the vote. Douglass, on the other hand, wanted to think that all his people needed to do was stand tall and free, that everything could be cured by codification of the equality of which he himself seemed the perfect emblem.
In the heady days immediately after the Civil War, with radicals pressing strenuously for the enfranchisement of black Americans, equality was in the air. And there was another group, long engaged in the antislavery struggle, who called for equality too—American women.
Their leader was Susan B. Anthony, an old friend of Douglass's, herself from Rochester. She was absolutely determined that the drive for the equality—the enfranchisement—of black men was not to be put ahead of the drive for women's suffrage. The two goals had to be reached as one. As Anthony's closest ally, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, put it, "I would not talk of negroes or women, but of citizens." Philosophically, Douglass was in complete agreement with this old friend.
In 1866, Wendell Phillips, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Theodore Tilton formed the American Equal Rights Association. They hoped to make it an organization that would incorporate both the energy and the