10 Black Suffragists You Should Know

Ida B. Wells-Barnett
Ida B. Wells-Barnett
Sallie Garrity, National Portrait Gallery // CC0

On August 18, 1920, the 19th amendment granted women the right to vote. As Americans mark the 100th anniversary of the historic ratification, many people are only just realizing that the law primarily helped white women, while Black women and other women of color faced discrimination and intimidation when they tried to assert their right to vote.

Despite fighting alongside well-known suffragists like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, many accomplished Black suffragists haven’t received the same recognition. Black women were forced to march separately from their white counterparts during rallies, and even after the 19th Amendment was ratified, Jim Crow laws in the South kept Black women and men from voting. It wasn’t until these restrictions were lifted with the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that Blacks in the South could exercise their right to vote. Here are 10 Black women who helped shape the suffragist movement.

1. Sojourner Truth

Mathew Brady, National Portrait Gallery // CC0

A charismatic speaker, Sojourner Truth was a preacher, abolitionist, and the first known Black suffragist. Born in 1797 as Isabella Baumfree in Ulster County, New York, she was enslaved until she ran away in 1827 to an abolitionist family, who paid for her freedom. She then moved to New York City, where she worked for a local minister. She eventually changed her name to Sojourner Truth when she felt the holy spirit call her to preach. She became a leading activist against slavery and for women’s rights, attending conventions across the eastern United States and electrifying audiences with her calls to action. At an Akron, Ohio, women’s convention 1851, she delivered her famous speech, “Ain’t I a Woman?” Though the true text from that speech is debated by historians, an excerpt from an 1863 version is hard to argue with:

"That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman? … If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them."

2. Ida B. Wells-Barnett

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Ida B. Wells-Barnett’s light bulb moment came when, after buying a first-class train ticket, she was forcibly removed from the train when she refused to sit in the car for Black passengers. (She sued the railroad and won.) Born in Mississippi in 1862, Wells-Barnett fought against segregation as an investigative journalist, newspaper publisher, educator, and activist. In 1892, when three of her friends were lynched, Wells-Barnett wrote a groundbreaking exposé of white supremacist murder against innocent Black citizens, and continued to call on officials to hold perpetrators of the system accountable. Her stories resulted in violent backlash, which forced her to move from Memphis to Chicago. It was in the Windy City that she co-founded the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs, an organization focused on public service, and founded the Alpha Suffrage Club, one of Chicago’s most important suffragist organizations, which worked to engage Black voters and field Black candidates in elections. That same year she marched in the segregated Woman Suffrage Procession in Washington, D.C.—and again, she refused to move to the back.

3. Mary Church Terrell

Library of Congress // No Known Restrictions on Publication

Mary Church Terrell, a classics scholar at Oberlin College, was one of the first Black women to earn both bachelor’s and master’s degrees. After moving to Washington, D.C., Terrell taught Latin at the M Street School, the country’s first public high school for Black students, and immersed herself in the women’s rights movement. She co-founded the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs with Ida B. Wells-Barnett and other leading activists, where she served as the organization’s first president and coined the group’s motto, “Lifting as we climb.” In 1910, she founded the National Association of University Women, which promotes fellowship among professional women. Terrell toured the country lecturing on women’s voting rights, noting in her speeches and writing the hypocrisy displayed by white suffragists fighting for women’s rights while disregarding those of Black people.

4. Mary B. Talbert

The Champion Magazine, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Born, raised, and educated in Oberlin, Ohio, Mary B. Talbert was an educator, activist, and co-founder of the Phyllis Wheatley Club, the Buffalo, New York chapter of the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs. In 1905, she helped found the Niagara Movement, a civil rights organization that was a precursor to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), where she served as vice president. Her years-long campaign on behalf of women’s suffrage led to her serving as president of the National Association of Colored Women between 1916 and 1920, transforming it into a nationwide organization (one of the achievements of her tenure was saving and restoring the Frederick Douglass Home in Washington, D.C.). In addition to writing articles about the suffrage movement for The Crisis, the NAACP's magazine, Talbert was a gifted speaker, becoming an international voice for Black women while touring abroad and lecturing on women’s rights.

5. Nannie Helen Burroughs

The Rotograph Co., Library of Congress // No Known Restrictions on Publication

Nannie Helen Burroughs was a devoted educator, religious leader, and feminist who believed that Black women and girls should have greater opportunities for job training and careers—and she made it her life’s mission to empower Black women. Burroughs attended the M Street School in Washington, D.C., which is where she met her mentor, Mary Church Terrell. Burroughs helped co-found the National Association of Colored Women, as well as the Women’s Auxiliary of the National Baptist Convention, an organization of more than 1 million women that she led in support of women’s suffrage. In 1909, she convinced the National Baptist Convention to establish the National Training School for Women and Girls in Washington, which was funded exclusively by Black donors, to educate and train Black women. She served as president of the school until her death in 1961, after which the school was renamed in her honor.

6. Frances E.W. Harper

Library of Congress // No Known Restrictions on Publication

Frances E.W. Harper, who was born in Baltimore in 1825, is known for her poetry and writings that criticized slavery, racism, and gender inequality. After being introduced to a range of literature while working in a Quaker household as a teenager, she became an abolitionist speaker and worker on the Underground Railroad. She supported her family with her speaking engagements and published poetry and prose collections, including Forest Leaves (1845) and the novel Iola Leroy, or Shadows Uplifted (1892). She was a founding member of the American Woman Suffrage Association and attended conferences and meetings concerning women’s rights, including the Women’s Convention of 1866, where she shared the platform with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. It was there that she addressed the racial discrimination that she experienced as a Black woman in predominately white suffragist organizations, saying, “You white women here speak of rights. I speak of wrongs.”

7. Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin

National Women's Hall of Fame, Google Arts and Culture // Public Domain

Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin, a journalist and activist focused on engaging Black women in New England in civil rights, joined the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association in 1875 and co-founded the Women’s Era Club in 1893, one of the first public service clubs for Black women that advocated for Black voting rights and other civil rights issues. The Women’s Era Club then joined the Massachusetts State Federation of Women’s Clubs in 1895. When the state federation joined the National Federation of Women’s Clubs soon after, a controversy erupted: Ruffin demanded to be recognized at the national federation’s annual convention as the delegate of a Black women’s club. The national group’s president hadn’t realize she had admitted a Black club to the all-white national federation. (Ruffin was not recognized, but her point had been made.) Ruffin also established the club’s newspaper The Women’s Era, the first national newspaper for Black women, which she edited and published from 1894 to 1897. Black women from all over the country contributed their writing, which amplified their voices and achievements in the movement for civil rights.

8. Harriet Forten Purvis

Library of Congress // Public Domain

Harriet Forten Purvis, born in Philadelphia in 1810, was the daughter of James Forten, the city’s most successful Black businessman and abolitionist. She helped found the biracial Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society [PDF] with her mother and sisters, plus suffragist Lucretia Mott and other leading abolitionists in 1833, which raised money to lobby lawmakers and provide housing, protection, and transportation to formerly enslaved people. She and her husband, Robert Purvis, worked as prominent station masters on the Underground Railroad. Purvis also gave speeches against discrimination in public spaces and initiated boycotts of products created by slave labor. A strong supporter of the suffrage movement, Purvis served as a member of the executive committee of the American Equal Rights Association, along with Mott, Stanton, Anthony, and Frederick Douglass. After the group split in 1869 over whether to support the Fifteenth Amendment, Purvis became a key member of Stanton and Anthony’s National Woman Suffrage Association. Along with her sisters, Purvis played a key role in organizing the fifth annual National Women’s Rights Convention in 1853.

9. Mary Ann Shadd Cary

National Archives of Canada // This reproduction is a copy of the version available on the web

Mary Ann Shadd Cary, born in Wilmington, Delaware, in 1823, wore many hats. A noted journalist, lawyer, teacher, abolitionist, and suffragist, she immigrated to Canada after Congress passed the Fugitive Act in 1850. (Though she was not enslaved, the Shadd family had helped enslaved people on the Underground Railroad.) Noting the wider range of economic opportunities for Black people in Canada, Shadd Cary founded the Provincial Freeman, an anti-slavery publication, making her the first Black woman in North America to publish a newspaper. In 1869, she moved to Washington, D.C. and attended Howard University Law school while supporting herself as a teacher. An ardent supporter of the women’s suffrage movement, she spoke at the 1878 convention of the National Woman Suffrage Association and was one of the 600 people who signed a petition arguing for women’s right to vote, which was presented to the House Judiciary Committee. She also organized the Colored Women’s Progressive Franchise Association in 1880.

10. Daisy Elizabeth Adams Lampkin

Daisy Elizabeth Adams Lampkin, who was born in 1883, organized consumer protests in Pittsburgh before being elected president of the Lucy Stone Woman Suffrage League, a group that fought for Black women’s voting rights, in 1915. As a leading clubwoman, Lampkin served as national organizer and chair of the executive board for the National Association for Colored Women, where she collaborated with Mary Church Terrell and other Black suffragists. She was also a member of the National Suffrage League. Following the ratification of the 19th Amendment, Lampkin continued to organize Black voters in the Negro Voters League of Pennsylvania. She is credited with harnessing the power of Black voters and activists under the umbrella of the NAACP in the 1930s and 1940s, which provided an organizational foundation for the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s.

Amazon's Under-the-Radar Coupon Page Features Deals on Home Goods, Electronics, and Groceries

Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

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Now that Prime Day is over, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday still a few weeks away, online deals may seem harder to come by. And while it can be a hassle to scour the internet for promo codes, buy-one-get-one deals, and flash sales, Amazon actually has an extensive coupon page you might not know about that features deals to look through every day.

As pointed out by People, the coupon page breaks deals down by categories, like electronics, home & kitchen, and groceries (the coupons even work with SNAP benefits). Since most of the deals revolve around the essentials, it's easy to stock up on items like Cottonelle toilet paper, Tide Pods, Cascade dishwasher detergent, and a 50 pack of surgical masks whenever you're running low.

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Alternatively, if you are looking for deals on specific brands, you can search for their coupons from the page. So if you've had your eye on the Homall S-Racer gaming chair, you’ll find there's currently a coupon that saves you 5 percent, thanks to a simple search.

To discover all the deals you have been missing out on, head over to the Amazon Coupons page.

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Jimi Hendrix’s Connection to Hogan's Alley—Vancouver's Lost Black Neighborhood

Marjut Valakivi, Public Domain // Wikimedia Commons
Marjut Valakivi, Public Domain // Wikimedia Commons

From the early 1900s through the 1960s, Hogan’s Alley—the unofficial name of Park Lane, an alley that ran between Union and Prior Streets in Vancouver’s Strathcona neighborhood—was a multicultural area that hosted an enclave of Black Canadians, largely immigrants and their descendants, who had resettled from American states to find work, generally on the Great Northern Railway system.

As a result of rampant racism and housing discrimination within the city, many of Vancouver's Black residents also migrated there, establishing numerous businesses including Pullman Porters’ Club, famed eatery Vie’s Chicken and Steak House, and the African Methodist Episcopal Fountain Chapel, the city’s only Black church at the time, which was partly spearheaded by Zenora Rose Hendrix—a pillar of the community and grandmother to legendary rocker Jimi Hendrix. Yet, despite the neighborhood's thriving business and cultural scene, city officials didn't hesitate to level Hogan's Alley and displace its many residents when it got in the way of an ill-conceived government construction project that was eventually abandoned altogether.

As national uprisings in support of the Black Lives Matter movement continue, racism has been declared a public health crisis throughout the U.S. following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and other Black citizens at the hands of law enforcement. Standing in solidarity with Americans calling for an end to police militarization, cultural advocates in Vancouver have been outraged by the harsh treatment of protesters in the United States. Growing frustration in the area has prompted a demand for the once-bustling, historic Black community of Hogan’s Alley to be recultivated as a cultural, commercial, and residential center for Black Vancouverites.

The Rise and Fall of Hogan's Alley

Ross and Nora Hendrix, Jimi Hendrix's paternal grandparents.Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Zenora “Nora” Rose Hendrix was born in the States, but became a much-admired member of the Hogan's Alley community. Nora (who, like her grandson, was a talented musician) was a cook at Vie's, a restaurant that was frequented by jazz icons including Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald, and Louis Armstrong during concert stops.

Jimi, who was raised in Seattle, forged a strong bond with the area during summer visits with his grandparents and via a short stint living with them, during which he attended first grade at Vancouver’s Dawson Annex School. He returned to the area in the early 1960s, where he regularly performed at local venues like Dante’s Inferno and Smilin’ Buddha.

At the same time Jimi was building his reputation as a world-renowned musician, the city of Vancouver began work on a development project to replace and expand the Georgia viaduct. To accommodate its redevelopment, which included the construction of a new interurban freeway, parts of the city would need to be destroyed. Hogan’s Alley was among the neighborhoods that city authorities had deemed disposable because, according to the Vancouver Heritage Fund, it had a reputation as “a center of squalor, immorality, and crime.”

Vancouver’s Chinatown was yet another neighborhood that was at the top of the list to be razed to make way for the Georgia viaduct and its new freeway, but Chinatown residents and the Strathcona Property Owners and Tenants Association (SPOTA) were able to effectively protest and shield that area from demolition. Though many of Hogan’s Alley’s Black residents participated in protests against the urban renewal agenda that was aimed at wiping out their neighborhood, they were unsuccessful.

In 1967, work on the first phase of construction began, effectively erasing the western half of Hogan’s Alley and forcing many Black families to leave the area in search of new housing and better opportunities. Though the building of the freeway was eventually stopped, it was too late for the residents of Hogan’s Alley.

Gone But Not Forgotten

Hogan's Alley: Then and NowMike via Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

In the near-half-century since the demise of Hogan’s Alley, no other cultural epicenter for Vancouver’s Black community has sprung up to take its place. Today, even within the city, the story of Hogan’s Alley and its dismantling is largely unknown—though there have been various efforts made to ensure that the neighborhood and its importance to the city’s history are not forgotten.

When the city revealed its plans to remove the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts in 2015, the announcement received a lot of attention in the area. In June 2020 activists—including members of the Hogan's Alley Society, a nonprofit organization that works to highlight the contributions of Black Vancouverites to the city’s history—held a peaceful protest wherein they occupied the viaducts in order to bring attention to the role the structures played in the decimation of Hogan's Alley. While they're happy to see the viaducts go, the protestors want to make sure that the city fulfills its promise to erect a Black Cultural Center in the structures' place and restore a vital part of Vancouver's lost Black history.

Dr. June Francis, chair of the Hogan’s Alley Society, told Global News the viaducts were “a monument to the displacement and the oppression of the Black community ... [Hogan’s Alley] was erased by the actions of the city.”

While the city promised to build a cultural center where Hogan's Alley once stood, Francis said two years have passed with no actions taken to fulfill that commitment. "I expect the city, actually, to come out with a definitive statement to these young people to say 'We believe in your future and here is our response to you,'" she said.

A Shrine to Jimi

Vancouver's Jimi Hendrix ShrineRunran via Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

In 2019, Nora Hendrix Place—a three-story, 52-unit, modular housing facility—was opened in the former Hogan’s Alley area to provide temporary shelter to the city’s homeless population. According to The Star, “The building will be run by the Portland Hotel Society and have a focus on supporting marginalized groups experiencing homelessness, while also including design elements shaped by Black culture.” But Nora’s famous grandson hasn't been forgotten either.

In the 1990s, a Jimi Hendrix Shrine—a small, fire engine red temple—was created where Vie’s once stood. It was an homage to Jimi’s career and the time he spent in Hogan’s Alley, complete with vinyl records, concert flyers, and letters from Jimi to his grandmother. Though the space is currently closed, its creator, Vincent Fodera, hopes to not only upgrade the shrine but to eventually have a 32-foot statue of Jimi towering over it.

While few physical reminders of Hogan’s Alley remain today, thanks to the lasting contributions of the area’s residents—including the Hendrix family—and the tireless efforts of its preservation advocates, the legacy of Hogan’s Alley’s will hopefully once again become an indelible part of the cultural fabric of Vancouver and its history.