The epic history of African American women's pursuit of political power -- and how it transformed America.
In the standard story, the suffrage crusade began in Seneca Falls in 1848 and ended with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. But this overwhelmingly white women's movement did not win the vote for most black women. Securing their rights required a movement of their own.
In Vanguard, acclaimed historian Martha S. Jones offers a new history of African American women's political lives in America. She recounts how they defied both racism and sexism to fight for the ballot, and how they wielded political power to secure the equality and dignity of all persons. From the earliest days of the republic to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and beyond, Jones excavates the lives and work of black women -- Maria Stewart, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Fannie Lou Hamer, and more -- who were the vanguard of women's rights, calling on America to realize its best ideals.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Popular history tells us the women’s suffrage movement ended in 1920. The only problem is that it didn’t. As Martha S. Jones explores in this fascinating history of Black women’s fight for the vote, the 19th Amendment—and the white suffragists who’ve been celebrated for helping pass it—secured the vote for white women only. That’s why Jones shines a much-needed spotlight on the Black suffragists who waged their own battle, yet gained little historic recognition for it. We were thrilled to learn about pioneering figures like abolitionist orator Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, who spread the message of enfranchisement to diverse and sometimes violent crowds all over the country. And whether or not you’ve heard of civil-rights advocate Fannie Lou Hamer, Jones’ insights will make you want to see her honored on coins and in schoolbooks everywhere. If you really want to know your American history, you need to read Vanguard.