Conflict: African American Women and the New Dilemma of Race and Gender Politics

By Cindy Hooper | Go to book overview

Afterword

Between the years 1777 and 1807, women in the United States who could vote in several states during that time slowly and systematically lost the right to vote. In 1870, the Fifteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guaranteed citizens the right to vote, but not women of any race, including African American women. For the first time, with the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, women of all races were excluded in the Constitution from full citizenship in regards to voting. In 1893, New Zealand was noted as the first country to give women the right to vote. For 72 years from the first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York, the citizens of America, both men and women and numerous ethnicities, fought for women’s right to vote. The United States followed New Zealand in the year 1920 by granting all women the right to vote. In 1923, the National Women’s Party proposed the Equal Rights Amendment with the goal of eradicating gender discrimination. The amendment was never ratified. There was almost a century between the election of Joseph Hayne Rainey, Republican from South Carolina, in 1870, the first free Black man elected to the House of Representatives, and the year that the first Black woman was elected to Congress, Democrat Party candidate Shirley Chisholm in 1968. Shirley Chisholm would eventually become the first African American woman or man to run for president from a major political party.

Black women were the backbone of the civil rights movement as the leadership in the forefront was mainly relegated to the men. The discrimination of women within the civil rights movement was typical of its time. Black women should have had a separate movement from the civil rights movement and the women’s right movement because they were secondary in both movements. The Black women who participated in these movements were not just history makers; they were pioneers who broke down

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