A New Exhibit Highlights Black Women’s Fight for Voting Rights

Michelle Duster SAVE THIS

Women at the 3rd Annual Women’s March, January 16, 2019 (Shutterstock).

The story of the multi-decade suffrage movement is complicated, messy, and complex. There were divisions between women, differences of opinions over tactics, efforts to exclude women of color, ideas of limiting suffrage to “educated” women, and arguments for how white women could gain the right to vote before Black men. As we approach the centennial of the 19th amendment in 2020, some institutions and individuals are working hard to educate the public on the multi-layered truth about the movement. The National Portrait Gallery (NPG) is one of them. Its exhibit titled “Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence,” which opened on March 29th, will run through January 5, 2020. 

The curator of the exhibit, Dr. Kate Clarke Lemay, conducted research and acquired items over a four year period. With assistance from the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative,…

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