REMOND FAMILY WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE MARKER On Thursday, June 23, 2022, Suffrage100MA and Hamilton Hall unveiled an historic women’s suffrage marker honoring the legacy of extraordinary activists, the Remond Family at Hamilton Hall in Salem. The marker celebrates the Remond Family’s suffrage and abolition work and encourage passers-by to learn more, and is one of five new Massachusetts […]
Abolition and the Suffrage Movement
Black Lives Matter. And our goal is to create a unified and inclusive commemoration so everyone learns all aspects of suffrage history. We hope that amplifying all of these stories will inspire everyone – men included – to appreciate and exercise their right to vote. - Suffrage100MA Founder & President Fredie Kay
Black Lives Matter yesterday, today, and tomorrow and Suffrage100MA is committed to uplifting the stories of the Black suffragists who contributed and sacrificed so much throughout the year. Please read our community letter in solidarity with Black Lives Matter to learn more about that commitment.
Welcome to Abolition and the Suffrage Movement
We hope the profiles and stories below inspire you to carry on the legacy of interconnectedness between suffragists and abolitionists by registering and exercising your right to vote, urging others to do the same, and recommitting to the ongoing movement for racial and gender equity.
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Black suffragists with a Massachusetts connection
Check out these profiles of Black suffragists who lived, worked, learned, or spoke in Massachusetts!
"Black Suffragists" museum display panel collection
"Abolitionist Allies" museum display panel collection
"Division in the Movement" museum display panel collection
While many suffragists welcomed people of color into the cause and supported abolition, the suffrage movement was not immune to racism, including segregation at or exclusion from events and political strategies that favored expediency to equality.
In our collection of 30 museum display panels featuring suffragists and their history, six are Black and eight panels about white suffragists include specific mention of supporting abolition. There are also three panels that reference instances of racism in the movement; they are not intended to represent all aspects of the racial dynamics of the suffrage movement, but they offer a glimpse at the racial and political tensions between the suffrage and abolition movements.
We hope these profiles are a starting point to learn more -- and have hope that more people will grow as did Carrie Chapman Catt who, "Despite vicious attacks from segregationists... opposed efforts to restrict the 19th Amendment to white women only and increasingly opposed racial discrimination in her later years."
Educators: Please check out our 1000 Classrooms Initiative and Resources for other suffrage history materials.
Florida Ruffin Ridley
Biography Florida Ruffin Ridley was the daughter of one of the first Black judges in Massachusetts, George Ruffin, and Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin, a suffragist, journalist, and prominent civil rights activist in Boston and nationally. Along with Maria Baldwin, Ridley was one of the first Black women teachers in the greater Boston area. Working with […]
Maria Louise Baldwin
Biography Born in Cambridge, MA, Maria Louise Baldwin overcame racial prejudice to become an acclaimed teacher, principal and school master with a 40 year career, and was active in the civil rights, suffrage and women’s rights movements. Baldwin was the only Black woman to serve as principal of a school in New England at that […]
Sarah Mapps Douglass
Biography Sarah Mapps Douglass (1806-1882)! An educator, abolitionist, writer, and public lecturer, Douglass was born to active abolitionists. In 1831, Douglass helped found the Female Literary Association (FLA), a group of African American women dedicated to improving their skills and sense of community. She was one of the FLA’s leaders, and the FLA was the […]
Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin
Biography An African-American suffragist, publisher, journalist, and civil rights leader, in 1893 Ruffin founded the Woman’s Era, the first national newspaper published by and for African-American women. After the civil war, Ruffin served on several charities to support Southern Blacks, later participating in multiple clubs and service organizations in Boston. In 1893, with Ida B. […]
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
Biography In the 1860s, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper was a free, Black, young woman working as a teacher in Pennsylvania when her home state of Maryland passed a law stating that ANY African American who returned to Maryland would be sold into slavery. This prompted the already ambitious educator to devote herself as an organizer […]
Ida B. Wells
Ida B. Wells 1862-1931 “I think Ida B. Wells should be remembered as an African-American woman who battled both racism and sexism at a time when it was extremely dangerous to speak out… She used her gift of writing, speaking and organizing to help shed light on injustice. She was extremely brave and held steadfast […]
Sojourner Truth c.1797-1883 Sojourner Truth (born Isabella Baumfree) was both an abolitionist and a champion of the women’s rights movement, exposing the important intersection of gender and race. As one of the only black women of the time who spoke for women’s rights, she is most well known for her “Ain’t I a Woman” speech […]