McCormack Speaks

September 6, 2017
by McCormack Speaks

Further Than We Were—Not Nearly Close Enough: Women’s Equality

By Ann Bookman, Director, Center for Women in Policy and Public Policy

executive femaleEach year in August we commemorate Women’s Equality Day. On the one hand, we celebrate our sisters and allies who fought so fiercely for the ratification of the 19th Amendment. On the other hand, we are reminded this year more than ever that no major civil rights law is ever truly won. It must be constantly fought for, its implementation rigorously enforced, and the spirit of inclusive democracy protected with our lives.

This year, as we each challenge ourselves to oppose all forms of bigotry and oppression, is it important to remember that when the 19th Amendment was finally won many barriers and hardships for women of color persisted. Despite the strong presence of Black activists in the women’s suffrage movement, the Black female vote was consistently blocked, first by those states which voted against ratification – even into the late 20th century – then by those states which enacted stringent voting rights laws. The violence and brutality directed towards communities of color – and particularly African Americans in the Jim Crow era – prevented many women of color from accessing their inalienable right to vote.

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