Voting Rights Post-Independence

State Constitutions and the Rights of Black Women

Following the War of American Independence, the states wrote their own constitutions and women had different rights in different regions. The differences were most dramatic among Black women.

The North abolished slavery earlier than the South, which technically gave Black women many of the same rights as white women (at least on paper): the right to marry, to have custody of their children, and to own property.

However, in the South, freedom was delayed much longer for all African Americans — especially for women. In areas of the South where tobacco was no longer the primary crop, some slaves were emancipated  freed from slavery. However, this was not a widespread movement and many continued to live in enslavement until after the American Civil War.

Black Women's Suffrage: pre-Civil War

Interview with Dr. William Green, Associate Professor of History at Augsburg College about the earliest petitions for suffrage.