In 2020, we celebrate 100 years since the passage of the 19th amendment and the 100th birthday of the League of Women Voters! As our League plans its celebrations over the coming year, we are mindful of these important realities:
- The suffrage movement was characterized by racism that betrayed women of color.
- Although the 19th amendment prohibited states from denying the right to vote based on sex, women of color were not truly enfranchised until decades later with the enactment of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
- The Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act with its 2013 decision in Shelby v. Holder, opening the door for states to make voting harder.
While we celebrate passage of the 19th Amendment, we are sorry for the hurt caused by racism within the suffrage movement and by the omission of the contributions of women of color from the suffrage story.
Our celebrations will be sensitive to the pain of the past as well as the inequity of the present. And in all our activities, we will continue the work of Empowering Voters and Defending Democracy.
Viewpoint: Celebrating the triumph, acknowledging the failure of 19th Amendment - South Bend Tribune, August 11, 2019. More about race and the suffrage movement here.