This month marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which guarantees and protects women’s right to vote, and the New Georgia Project is highlighting the contributions of Black suffragettes who helped to push the movement forward but were historically ignored, in a video released yesterday (August 18). In fact, Black women across the country didn’t get the right to vote until five decades later with the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Narrated by Beverly E. Smith, the 26th national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. the New Georgia Project CEO Nsé Ufot and Representative Dee Dawkins-Haigler (D-Ga.), the video features images of revolutionary women freedom fighters over the centuries, such as founding women’s rights advocates Sojourner Truth, Mary McLeod Bethune, Ida B. Wells and Mary Church Terrell, as well as more contemporary figures like Shirley Chisholm, Angela Davis, Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) to name a few.
The fact that women of color make up one-third of the voting population, according to the Center for American Progress, is the reason the New Georgia Project is focusing on Black women in particular. As Ufot said in an emailed statement to Colorlines on August 18:
As we commemorate the ratification of the 19th amendment, we know that we have to continue to fight for its full promise. We all lose when we whitewash the history of the fight for Black women’s right to vote and ignore the role that these women played in the history of our democracy. As we work to restore faith in our elections and to thwart attacks on institutions like the census and the post office, there are lessons to be learned about strategy and fortitude in this history. In our history. American history.
Watch the powerful video below, courtesy of the New Georgia Project: