Reflect: Key People, Connections and Discussion Questions

This page is about reflection. You’ll find a list of some of the key people and organizations relevant to this section. You’ll also find a section called intersectionality to encourage thinking about how different issues are connected, and discussion questions to encourage deeper thinking. Take some time to answer the questions, look these people up and learn more about their stories.

The content on this site is not complete: there are countless numbers of people and so many stories — from small acts of defiance to major leadership positions — that didn’t get recorded or that don’t often make it into textbooks.

This website is meant to be grown and improved upon. We’ve included some of the heroes, but if you know people we are missing, let us know so we can include their stories too.

 

Key People & Groups

  • National Woman Suffrage Association
  • American Woman Suffrage Association
  • Charlotte Forten (AWSA)
  • Frances Ellen Watkins Harper (AWSA)
  • Mrs. K. Harris (AWSA)
  • Caroline Remond Putnam (AWSA)
  • Charlotta (Lottie) Rollin (AWSA)
  • Louisa Rollin (AWSA)
  • Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin (AWSA)
  • Sojourner Truth (AWSA)
  • Frances Rollin Whipper (AWSA)
  • Naomi Talbert Anderson (NWSA)
  • Mrs. Beatty (NWSA)
  • Mary Ann Shadd Cary (NWSA)
  • Harriet Purvis (NWSA)
  • Hattie Purvis (NWSA)
  • Charlotte E. Ray (NWSA)
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton (NWSA)
  • Susan B. Anthony (NWSA)
  • Angelina Weld Grimké
  • Coralie Franklin Cook
  • Anna J. Cooper
  • Nannie Burroughs
  • Lucy Stone
  • Mary Church Terrell
  • Adella Hunt Logan
  • Lucy Diggs Slowe
  • Mary E. Jackson
  • Jeanette Carter
  • S. Willie Layton
  • Carrie Chapman Catt
  • Anna Howard Shaw
  • Alice Paul
  • Lucy Burns
  • National Woman Suffrage Association
  • American Woman Suffrage Association
  • National Women’s Party
  • National Association of Colored Women
  • National Federation of Afro-American Women
  • National American Woman Suffrage Association
  • Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association
  • Sarah Burger Stearns- Founding member/first president of Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association
  • Harriet Bishop- Founding member of Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association
  • Martha Ripley- Former president of Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association

Intersectionality

Class was another issue in the suffrage movement. A woman’s social and economic situation affected her ability to be involved in the campaign.

Class affected women of any race, but it disproportionately restricted Black women from being involved. The women who held prominent positions in the campaign were more likely to belong to a wealthier class, and wealthy women were more often white.

Class and race often intersect in this way. Sometimes patterns of oppression continue when a group is indirectly excluded from participating and from decision-making.

Sometimes this even happens when wealthier and/or white leaders want to involve marginalized people. When the leaders come from the same race and class, it’s hard for them to know the right ways to include more people even if they want to.

The “mainstream” women’s suffrage movement included a number of Black women, but those women tended to be wealthy.

The campaign very much focused on the issues that tended to affect white women, whereas Black women faced a myriad of additional challenges that were not often addressed by the campaigns led by white women.  

Discussion Questions: 
Black suffragist Frances Ellen Watkins said the following at her closing speech at the 1873 AWSA convention: “as much as white women need the ballot, colored women need it more.” How do you think white suffragists responded to that statement? How do you respond to it?
Social issues like intemperance (excessive indulgence, in this case with alcohol) was also an important issue for many suffragists, but how did that relate to women’s suffrage? Why do you think some women included those issues? How?
When the NWSA and the AWSA merged, they agreed to only focus on women’s suffrage and really alienated Black women in the process. Do you see this type of “compromise” happen in school or in organizations or government today? What are the alternatives?
When African American women journalists wrote about suffrage in Black newspapers, whom do you think were their intended audiences? What do you think were their strategies?
Anti-woman’s suffrage myths of the time included: “women really did not want to vote, women were ignorant of civics and unable to participate in politics, and if women participated in the political process by voting, their babies would be neglected” (Terborg-Penn, 61) What do you think think about those assertions? Do you think messages similar to those get used today for different issues?