For Black women, the 19th Amendment didn’t end their fight to vote.September 14, 2020
A noted historian examines two myths about what the 19th Amendment did—and didn’t—do for women in 1920.
When it comes to the story of women’s suffrage and the 19th Amendment, two competing myths dominate. The first is that when the amendment became law in 1920, all American women won the vote. The second is that no Black American women gained the vote that year. Marking the amendment’s centennial, it’s time to replace both falsehoods with history.
Voting rights in America have always been borne of struggle. And the battles women fought 100 years ago—for a constitutional right and against segregationist and discriminatory Jim Crow laws in the South—echo in 2020 as American women continue to work against voter suppression and for full access to the polls.
On August 26, 1920, the U.S. Secretary of State certified that the 19th Amendment to the Constitution had been ratified by the required 36 states. It became the law of the land: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”
The 19th Amendment did not, however, guarantee any woman the vote. Instead, laws reserving the ballot for men became unconstitutional. Women would still have to navigate a maze of state laws—based upon age, citizenship, residency, mental competence, and more—that might keep them from the polls.
Read full article at nationalgeographic.com