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The Tennessee State Museum hosts a wide range of FREE, fascinating events and educational programs throughout the year. Advance reservations are not required, unless indicated on the listing. For seated events, seats are provided on a first-come, first-served basis.
Join us online on Wednesday, July 15 at noon for the return of our popular Lunch & Learn series, this time delivered digitally, as Linda Wynn, Professor of History at Fisk University and assistant director for state programs at the Tennessee Historical Commission, discusses African Americans and the Intersectionality of Gender and Race in the Women’s Suffrage movement.
In the summer of 1920, as the Tennessee General Assembly considered ratifying the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution giving women the right to vote, Tennessee captured the attention of the nation. Those who favored women gaining the right of the franchise (suffragists) and those who opposed women gaining the right of the franchise (anti-suffragists) descended upon the Volunteer State to campaign for their respective positions. From the beginning, African American women faced a double-edge sword, or as W. E. B. DuBois wrote, “One ever feels his twoness--an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.” For African American women, the movement for the right to vote manifested this twoness as they faced the two-fold struggle of women and as African Americans.
African American women from Nashville and greater state of Tennessee were involved in the civil liberties and human rights struggle for women’s rights to access the ballot box. For them, women’s Suffrage was a two-fold Struggle that included both race and gender. Although the Black woman’s contribution to the suffrage campaign was rarely written about until 1998, African Americans, especially women, had a more consistent attitude toward the vote than Whites. As Rosalyn Terborg-Penn explains in her study African American Women in the Struggle for the Vote, 1850-1920, African Americans maintained a political philosophy of universal suffrage, while Whites, including women, advocated a limited, educated suffrage after the Civil War.
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