Women's Suffrage: let's set the record straight

“ The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into our souls.” Elizabeth Candy Stanton

“Life is a hard battle anyway, if we laugh and sing a little as we fight the good fight of freedom it makes it all go easier. I will not allow life’s light to be determined by the darkness around me.” Sojourner Truth

In 1920 the 19th amendment gave women the right to vote in America. This is not something I learned in school, but is something I learned much later when I became curious about the women's movement. Here are a few more facts we do not learn about this amendment in school or in many history books; the 19th amendment did not actually give all women the right to vote in America. Each state was allowed to ratify the amendment into the state constitution as they saw fit. 

In 1848, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott organized the Seneca Falls Convention as a way to unify women to fight for their right to vote. 300 people including some men attended. Susan B. Anthony later joined their cause and helped raise public awareness and lobby the government. Often during this time these women activists were beaten, jailed and taunted by men and women. Thankfully they believed deeply in their cause and did not give up. The movement was not simply about the right to vote it was also about women's basic rights such as the ability to own property and claim money.

Between the years 1910 and 1918 Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota and Washington gave white women the right to vote. In 1918 President Wilson changed his stand on women's right to vote when in World War 1 America's involvement in the war also increased its need for women to play a larger role. Despite his support the proposal failed in the Senate by 2 votes. The Amendment was finally passed in August 1920, however it tool 60 years for the remaining 12 states to ratify the 19th Amendment. Mississippi was the last state to add it on March 22, 1984. 

The 19th Amendment did not give all women equal rights to vote.

1924 American Government grants citizenship to Native Americans but they are barred from voting until 1948 

1952 First generation Japanese Americans are given the right to vote

1965 Voting Rights Act outlawed voting taxes and literacy tests which helped prevent states from imposing discriminatory polling laws.