Know Your Suffragettes: A Primer
Today marks the 93rd anniversary of the Woman Suffrage Movement’s great victory — certification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, granting women the right to vote. The fight for suffrage had its formal beginnings in 1848 at the world’s first women’s rights convention, in Seneca Falls, NY, but would span 72 years — fueled by tens of thousands of courageous women and men. On Women’s Equality Day — and with the help of the National Women’s History Project — a few key suffragettes you should know.
Ida B. Wells-Barnett (1862-1931)
Founded the first suffrage club of African-American women, the Alpha Suffrage Club of Chicago. She marched in the 1913 Washington, D.C. parade and led a contingent of Black suffragists in the famous 1916 Chicago parade.
Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906)
Symbol of the suffrage movement, Anthony was a strategist with sharp political instincts, the driving force behind the National Woman Suffrage Association, and single minded champion of a federal amendment.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902)
Brilliant women’s rights leader and forceful writer, Stanton authored the 1848 “Declaration of Sentiments” declaring “all men and women are created equal.” She and Anthony were political partners for 50 years.
Sojourner Truth (c.1797-1883)
Born into slavery, Isabella Van Wagener changed her name in 1843 and began preaching against slavery and for women’s rights. She is best remembered for her dramatic “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech at the 1851 Woman’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio.
Carrie Chapman Catt (1859-1947)
Catt reorganized the National American Woman Suffrage Association in 1890, and then unified the movement in 1916 with her secret “Winning Plan.” Catt called for the formation of a League of Women Voters in 1919.
Alice Paul (1885-1977)
Chief strategist of the militant wing, Paul founded the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage and the National Woman’s Party. Organizer of the White House pickets in 1917, she was jailed three times and force-fed. Alice Paul authored the Equal Rights Amendment in 1923.
— Bios from the National Women’s History Project; Photos courtesy of the Library of Congress. See more suffragettes at MAKERS.