Although today marks the 100 year anniversary of the 19th Amendment, let’s not forget that it took 45 more years and the passing of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 for Jim Crow laws, discrimination and the repression of women to even begin to loosen it’s grip. Black women, Native American women and Chinese immigrants were not granted voting rights 100 years ago, and to this day still are fighting to have their voices truly heard. I was not taught in school about the multitude of women like Ida B Wells* and Mary Church Terrell** who fought for the voting rights of every woman. I was not taught about Adella Hunt Logan, a mixed race woman who identified as African American but who was light skinned enough to pass as white so she gained access to many suffrage associations and meetings that she would have not had access to otherwise. Risking her own life posing as white in conservative Alabama, Logan emphasized through her writing the importance of the vote for all women, but especially to black women, saying, “they need the vote and the vote needs them.”
100 years later women are still fighting for equality, equity, and against racism and sexism. Women are still fighting to be noticed. We can not glaze over our history for it leads to complacency. I am approached often and told it’s different now. There are women who will look at the fact that Kamala Harris is a Vice Presidential candidate and think the above words and issues do not apply anymore. You are wrong and I invite you to think about the Martin Luther King words below, because if even one woman is discriminated against it affects us all.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” Dr. Martin Luther King.
Whatever you know, whatever you believe, whatever you fight for, make sure you get out and vote. Exercise the right that others fought for you to have. Celebrate that.
* Ida Bell Wells-Barnett was an American investigative journalist, educator, and an early leader in the civil rights movement. She was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Wikipedia
**Mary Church Terrell was one of the first African-American women to earn a college degree, and became known as a national activist for civil rights and suffrage. She taught in the Latin Department at the M Street school —the first African American public high school in the nation—in Washington, DC. Wikipedia