Celebrating the Suffrage Centennial

By Maggie Dimock

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, granting American women the right to vote. The Greenwich Historical Society is celebrating this anniversary with the exhibition An Unfinished Revolution: The Woman’s Suffrage Centennial.

With the Greenwich Historical Society’s present closure, many of us are spending more time indoors. For those in search of a good book to spend the time and expand your historical understanding, we offer this list of engaging and timely reads about the American woman’s suffrage movement.

The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote

Elaine Weiss, Viking, 2018

In August 1920, 35 states have approved the 19th amendment, granting women the right to vote. One more state is needed for women’s voting rights to become the law of the land. Tennessee is primed to become state number 36. The suffragists face vicious opposition from politicians, clergy, corporations and racists who don’t want black women voting. Meanwhile the “Antis,” women who oppose their own enfranchisement, fear suffrage will bring about the nation’s moral collapse. On a hot summer day, these parties converge for a final confrontation. The Woman’s Hour follows a handful of remarkable women who led their respective forces into battle.

Why They Marched: Untold Stories of the Women who fought for the Right to Vote 

Susan Ware

Harvard University Press, 2019

For far too long, the history of how American women won the right to vote has been told as the tale of a few iconic leaders, all white and native-born. Susan Ware uncovers a much broader and more diverse story waiting to be told. Why They Marched is a tribute to the many women who worked tirelessly in communities across the nation, out of the spotlight, protesting, petitioning, and insisting on their right to full citizenship. Ware’s deeply moving stories provide a fresh account of one of the most significant moments of political mobilization in American history. The dramatic, often joyous experiences of these women resonate powerfully today, as a new generation of young women demands to be heard.

Princess of the Hither Isles: A Black Suffragist’s Story from the Jim Crow South

Adele Logan Alexander

Yale University Press, 2019

Born during the Civil War into a slaveholding family that included black, white, and Cherokee forebears, Adella Hunt Logan dedicated herself to advancing political and educational opportunities for the African American community. She taught at Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute but also joined the segregated woman suffrage movement, passing for white in order to fight for the rights of people of color. Her determination—as a wife, mother, scholar, and activist —to challenge the draconian restraints of race and gender generated conflicts that precipitated her tragic demise.
 
Author Adele Logan Alexander—Adella Hunt Logan’s granddaughter—bridges the chasms that often frustrate efforts to document the lives of those who traditionally have been silenced, weaving together family lore, historical research, and literary imagination into a riveting, multigenerational family saga.

Exploring Women’s Suffrage through 50 Historic Objects

Jessica D. Jenkins

Rowman & Littlefield, 2020

From hunger strikes to massive parades, the American women’s suffrage movement grabbed the attention of citizens and politicians around the United States. Posters, lapel buttons, and even luncheonette plates carried the iconic phrase “Votes for Women.” Today, museums, libraries, universities, and historic sites across the country care for the objects and places that tell the story of suffrage. Exploring Women’s Suffrage through 50 Historic Treasures brings together a selection of these cultural gems representing the milestones, people, and legacy of the long campaign for women’s voting rights. 

By Maggie Dimock

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