Stepping out of the Shadows: Alabama Women, 1819-1990

By Mary Martha Thomas | Go to book overview

6
Adella Hunt Logan and the Tuskegee Woman's Club Building a Foundation for Suffrage

ADELE LOGAN ALEXANDER

"Government of the people, for the people, and by the people is but partially realized so long as woman has no vote," an African-American teacher from Alabama wrote in 1905. A few years later, this same woman, Adella Hunt Logan, further argued that "more and more colored women . . . are convinced . . . that their efforts would be more telling if women had the vote." These pronouncements are revealing and surprising only because not enough is yet understood about the southerners, both black and white, who involved themselves in the struggle for women's equal rights.1

The year 1848, more than half a century before Logan ever wrote about the importance of votes for women, may not have been the very first time that a group of American women had gathered together to raise and discuss concerns over their political impotence, but the widely reported conference that convened that year in Seneca Falls, New York, certainly was the first occasion on which they had spoken out in concert and made their voices so clearly heard. From that time until the woman's suffrage movement culminated in the passage and subsequent ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1920, a number of African-American women and men wanted to, and indeed did, become part of that effort for at least three fundamental reasons. First, they believed deeply in the underlying tenets and promised inclusiveness of American democracy. Second, since black women often were victimized by both racism and sexism, many African Americans became convinced that acquiring the vote to gain at least some measure

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