“Ain’t I a Woman?”

A couple of weeks ago I came across this piece on the origin of the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs while searching for resources on the role of Black women in suffrage work https://womensmuseum.wordpress.com/2018/02/21/lifting-as-we-climb-the-story-of-americas-first-black-womens-club/ This picture, which I found on the museum website, is fierce and I can feel the strength of these women reaching through time.

In my same search, I also found this review from the New York Times on a book called Finish the Fight , portraying other diverse voices who fought for women’s right to vote: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/24/books/finish-the-fight-excerpt.html

I love history, and I think of myself as a fairly well rounded reader, but there were so many names and details in each of these brief reads that I didn’t know. When I learned about women’s suffrage, I mostly learned about Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, sprinkled with a little Alice Paul and Dorothy Day. I had never heard of Zitkala-Sa or Mabel Ping-Hua Lee and others. And the women whose names were familiar to me (Ida B. Wells Barnett and Frances Ellen Watkins Harper and Sojourner Truth) created more impact than I knew. The resources I came across were a good and necessary reminder that it took the work of many women to gain the right to vote. Bigger than the issue of suffrage, it also makes me wonder how many other names I need to learn as I work to recognize with gratitude all people who have worked and are working toward the beloved community.

One last resource to share, from The Sojourner Truth Project: a selection of video recordings of her famous speech “Ain’t I a Woman?” in contemporary Afro-Dutch dialects https://www.thesojournertruthproject.com/the-readings. I love hearing her truth in other voices.

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