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The history of the voting rights struggle is still being written

Review of African American Women in the Struggle for the Vote, 1850-1920

❶The Color of Water:

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Ella Baker is perhaps best known for her role as a supporting actor in the Civil Rights Movement drama of the s and s. But the breadth and depth of her role in the Black Freedom Movement is often underrated. From the s until her death in , Ella Baker participated in over thirty organizations and campaigns ranging from the Negro cooperative movement during the Depression to the Free Angela Davis campaign in the s. Height—and allows them to convey, in their own words, the momentous events in which each of them participated.

These personal testimonies hold particular importance because the voices of black women have seldom been given recognition outside or even within the Civil Rights Movement. Parks emphasizes that at the time she I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day.

I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.

The driver of the bus saw me still sitting there, and he asked was I going to stand up. And so it began, a new history for the University, the state, and for my classmate Hamilton Earl Holmes and me. I was nineteen and he was twenty and neither one of us had given much thought to making history. What we wanted, in a real sense, was to fulfill our dreams—dreams that we had nurtured for as long as we could remember.

One of the significant turning points came in when Stephen Currier called together a group of black leaders because he felt that the Taconic Foundation, which he headed, and which had been very supportive of black causes, could take a lead in trying to get other philanthropic sources to give more support. And so, he called together Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Philip Randolph, President of the Brotherhood of Sleeping The three essays in Part III focus on black women leaders who operated primarily at the grassroots level.

Septima Clark, Fannie Lou Hamer, Annie Devine, Victoria Gray, and other women activists made significant contributions to civil rights campaigns by utilizing local organizations and institutional networks to mobilize working-class black southerners. These women also maintained the important linkages between local movement organizations and the national civil rights leadership. To a very great extent their success as civil rights activists was closely related to their family background and personal experiences that prepared them well to assume responsible leadership positions.

Historical accounts of the Civil Rights Movement of the s and s have generally focused on the roles and contributions of male leaders and the nationally oriented civil rights organizations that they led. It has been only within the past decade that historians turned to consider the important roles played by female activists in the struggle for social change. What was it like for these women to live their lives? How did they think about what they were doing? How did they think about themselves, their public and They sometimes placed themselves Invisible Man Paperback by Ralph Ellison.

Kindred Paperback by Octavia E. Native Son Paperback by Richard Wright. Song of Solomon Paperback by Toni Morrison. Sula Paperback by Toni Morrison. Homegoing Hardcover by Yaa Gyasi. The Warmth of Other Suns: Black Boy Paperback by Richard Wright. The Color of Water: Over the course of her research she has uncovered the names and activities of dozens of African American suffragists, many of them ignored in Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B.

Having provided the evidence that numerous African American women, as well as men, evinced a strong commitment to woman suffrage, Terborg-Penn describes the challenges they faced in joining the white-dominated movement and their complex and often-difficult relations with white suffragists. Largely neglecting the complexities of class, for example, Terborg-Penn chooses not to analyze the various and conflicting meanings of temperance, religion, and sexuality in nineteenth-century African American feminist thought.

Perhaps because Terborg-Penn is eager to show African American women suffragists as the heroines of the piece, she has avoided analysis of conflict and compromise within the African American community itself.

Although it can be argued, of course, that "white women for the most part campaigned for their own enfranchisement" while black women supported universal suffrage, the point needs to be shown rather than simply stated p. Still, the emergence of two rival organizations in was in fact a schism, and it must matter to this story as it surely mattered to African American women suffragists that more white women chose to side with supporters of black male voting rights.

Mypoint here is not that the white women who advocated limited suffrage were less racist than Terborg-Penn asserts. African-American Women Speakers and Writers in the North, is an act of recovery as well, but hers is a strikingly different kind of work. A literary scholar who blends historical, rhetorical, and anthropological perspectives, Peterson looks to the writing and public speaking of nineteenth-century African American women to explicate the cultural work they undertook in behalf of their community.

Her effort to, in her words, "historicize notions of literature and broaden literary study into a larger field of cultural investigation" p. She grapples with the complexities of racial uplift, seeing it as an effort on the part of black elites both to assimilate into and subvert the dominant white culture.

As Peterson points out, the politically radical effort to establish a "Negro nation" was a socially conservative and masculinist one, and women such as Mary Ann Shadd Cary were vocal in their opposition to these "male-oriented emigration schemes" p. The Racial Origins ofFeminism in the United States also explores the implications of nineteenth-century feminism at various sites, including in late-nineteenth-century debates over coeducation, labor legislation, colonial exploration, American Indian activism, and the fields of economics and cultural anthropology.

That split did not simply divide white women from black; it also divided white feminists from one another, as different women made moral and political choices in the context of Emancipation. Newman joins a cohort of scholars who have argued convincingly that the women and men involved in predominantly white, middle-class, Protestant-dominated reform work were players in an imperialist and racist story of which feminism was sometimes?

For Newman, "whiteness" is the major piece of u. As reiteration of that point, she frequently places "white" in parentheses before the word "woman," arguing that "regardless of whether they used racial modifiers, ideas about race difference were always present, even if race functioned as an absent presence, as it so often did" p.

In the abstract this is a valuable reminder, although I admit I found the device an irritating distraction on the printed page. But I just as often found myself arguing with, or wanting to discuss the specifics of, those racial modifiers.

Does Newman mean us to understand from each insertion of white that race was, at that moment and in that context, as important as in every other example? Does it mean that the women in a particular case "happened" to be white, that they were expressing something specific about whiteness, that they were valuing whiteness over some other aspect, also unspoken, of their identity, or that they were being racist?

Are absent presences ever or always as important as visible presences, and how are we to know the difference? Certainly class and religion at least complicate the two-dimensional view Newman proposes and were often and sometimes equally "absent presences" in feminist rhetoric. Newman is entirely convincing that "Anglo-Protestant" women an interesting phrase, intriguingly nonracial and nonnational , feminists among them, manipulated theories of evolutionary progress, civilization, and race to "empower themselves"; I am less convinced that this process accurately describes "the racial origins of feminism" itself.

I wish that Newman had grounded her study more firmly in the profound conservatism of the late nineteenth century rather than in the intellectual origins of a feminism that arose in a different era. I also wish she had paid greater attention to the range of categories that at various times have been used to exclude, belittle, isolate, make invisible, and refuse full rights to whomever constitutes an "other" in a particular setting.

Newman is surely not responsible for all the recent studies about the nature and meaning of "whiteness" in U. I agree with Newman that questions of race and civilization gained particular salience with the onset of evolutionary thought. Yet having chosen the category of whiteness as the prism through which to understand u. Although Newman frequently conflates Christianity and whiteness, for instance, the two are not identical, nor is either identical to middle-class cultural values or to the material conditions that made them plausible.

Becoming American, gaining citizenship, defining and achieving rights are all processes that are profoundly about race as the briefest glance at the Naturalization Act will show. But they are also about class, sex, birthplace, religion, and culture; all display ways of exerting power over those considered less or dangerous or different.

Thus, although Newman is correct that elite white men only reluctantly granted the vote to working-class voters, it was their fear that poorer men would redistribute or misuse their property, not or not primarily a consciousness of race, that underlay their hostility and ambivalence. Once we accept, as both Newman and I do, that the "Anglo-Protestant" elites of the late nineteenth century tied many aspects of their social thought to a racist and imperialist worldview, the question still remains of the precise place of feminism within it.

But did her explorations advance feminist goals, or simply advertise a version of female autonomy that feminist agitation had, along the way, made possible? Is a co-optation of feminism, or the use of its name, the same as feminism itself?

Anderson would recognize a comrade in the feminist Newman describes as embodying "the universalized liberal subject whose liberation from patriarchy was manifest in a personal autonomy. Yetwhiteness and imperialism, those extremely plastic ideologies, were as often employed against feminism as in its defense.

And feminist ideology first emerged in an entirely different cultural context, one where race was equally significant, but its meaning for feminism itself more contested. Nancy Isenberg, in Sex and Citizenship in Antebellum America, explores that earlier context from which feminism emerged.

S, political, legal, and religious discourse. Isenberg shows antebellum feminists engaged in a discourse over rights that was part of a larger debate about citizenship itself. Isenberg makes an important contribution by placing feminist thinking about suffrage and citizenship squarely in the multiple currents of.

But the book does not, in the end, sufficiently rework U. Nor does it fulfill its proposal to recenter U. Instead, offering up a surprisingly familiar cast of characters, the book ranges widely over issues and personalities to show that feminism was both part of and a contributor to a broader political tradition that was constantly transforming the ways Americans thought about constitutional rights and democratic practices.

According to Isenberg, previous historians of antebellum feminism have largely ignored the significance of religion, especially the centrality of the biblical story of creation as a widely employed symbol within feminist rhetoric. That middle-class, white, Protestant women drew from all these cultural and intellectual traditions to design a new image of the female citizen is an excellent, if not entirely original, point.

Indeed, historians who have noted the complexities intrinsic to a feminism grounded in Protestant teachings, demonstrate clearly that where one reader sees feminist implications in a biblical lesson, another can read it in a contrary way. Isenberg expresses little interest in tackling the class and race issues in the antebellum discourse over citizenship and sex, thereby confirming the need for the interventions made by Terborg-Penn, Peterson, and Newman.

For instance, she points to prostitutes as having achieved "iconic meaning" p. Here we see how the u. Another, much larger frame is also available to illuminate the complexities of nineteenth-century U. Two of the books in this group provide an international or, more accurately, transatlantic, lens through which to explicate the goals of that movement.

The Transatlantic Sources of Nineteenth-Century Feminism uses the methodology and language of social science to describe webs of communication among women on different sides of the Atlantic.

McFadden acknowledges that some of the women missionaries, reformers, utopian activists, political revolutionaries, and literary celebrities she analyzes were actually antifeminists; nevertheless, she suggests that focusing on the interconnectedness of the Atlantic community offers new insights into the emergence of "matrices," "networks," and "webs" that constituted a "virtual community" among women, one that in turn helps explain early feminism.

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I have received panicked e-mails from friends asking if the right to vote for African-Americans is in jeopardy. Strictly speaking, it is not. The right to vote for men, regardless of race, is protected by the Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

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online professional resume writing services in maryland Buy A Book Report On African American Struggle To Vote pay for dissertation hospitality thesis custom style sheet. African American Women in the Struggle for the Vote, By Rosalyn Terborg-Penn. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, ''Doers ofthe Word": African-American Women Speakers and Writers in the North,

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Last year the nation marked the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday with a march led by the first African-American president. The U.S. has come a long way, but with voting rights still being contested in Alabama, North Carolina and other states, it's clear the movement's history is still being written. The civil rights movement for African Americans did not end with the passage of the Voting Rights Act in For the last fifty years, the African American community has faced challenges related to both past and current discrimination; progress on both fronts remains slow, uneven, and often frustrating.