2020 was the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, giving women the right to vote. However, when women won the right to vote in 1920, the majority of Black women still couldn’t vote for another five decades. I created this poster to uplift the historic leadership and legacy of Black women in the women’s suffrage movement who went uncredited for so long, and often still continue to be invisibilized. This piece was commissioned in the fall of 2020 for Haight Street Art Center’s exhibit, XIX: 2020 Vision, with artistic direction from Alexandra Fischer.
More on the artwork:
Black women like Ida B. Wells, Frances Harper, Sojourner Truth & Hallie Brown were segregated from marches at the height of the suffrage movement. Ida B. Wells started the 1st Black suffrage club in Chicago in January 1913 and while fighting for the rights of Black people, had to also actively debate white suffragists who thought that Black women should wait until white women got the vote first. Frances Harper’s powerful poetry & oration drew massive crowds to hear her speak. One of her most well-known speeches “We Are All Bound Up Together” was at a Women’s Rights Convention in NYC, where she was invited to speak alongside white suffragists Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony. When women won the right to vote in 1920, the majority of Black women still couldn’t vote for another five decades. White women closed up suffrage clubs and Black women had to continue the fight alone. Then, Stanton & Anthony wrote the book “History of Woman’s Suffrage” & intentionally left Black women off the pages; the same pages we are fed in history books. As artists, I believe we need to not only reflect the times, but expose the harms of white supremacy & flip the narrative for future generations. To me, the 19th amendment reminds me that movements can achieve major victories & still leave a lot of people behind, especially & continuously, Black women.