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The 19th Amendment failed to enfranchise all women

Melvin B. Miller
The 19th Amendment failed to enfranchise all women
“I hope they remember the sisterhood when things get tough in here!”

Donald Trump’s State of the Union address was a regurgitation of his insipid political positions. It is remarkable that even Republican stalwarts could find any measure of rhetorical achievement in the speech. But the evening was not lost. Women elected to Congress as Democrats dressed in white to recall the travails of the suffrage movement.

The 110 women sworn into the 115th U.S. Congress was the largest group of women ever elected to the federal legislature, and 39 were women of color. Most of the Democrats wore white in commemoration of the campaign for passage of the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote in 1920. It was a dramatic display even if it failed to depict accurately the circumstances of 100 years earlier.

An article in the Sunday New York Times entitled “When the suffrage movement sold out” showed how the suffragettes had failed to secure the voting rights of their black sisters in the South. It will be of interest to note whether gender solidarity holds up as the 115th Congress presses forward on controversial issues.

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