Response to Exclusion

Organizations founded by African American women began to appear in the 1890s in response to their exclusion for other national suffrage groups. Some examples include, The National Federation of Afro-American Women, headed by Margaret Murray Washington, combined with Colored Women’s Club to form National Association of Colored Women in 1896 lead by Mary Church Terrell as well as the Alpha Suffrage Club founded by Ida B. Wells in Chicago, Illinois.

In addition to national organizations, hundreds of women’s clubs were founded all over the United States to serve on the local and state level to rally people to the cause of universal suffrage.

Local groups such as, the City Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs of Jacksonville organized programs, events, and conferences to improve the lives of the city’s residents as well as to educate the community on important social movements, like the vote. Materials from the Eartha M.M. White collection demonstrate the breadth of influence and activities these kinds of clubs contributed to their communities.

These local groups were instrumental in advocating for the rights of African American women and men in an era when the legal and social gains from the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments and during Reconstruction were reversed through the enactment of Jim Crow laws in the south.

20th Annual Convention of Northeastern Federation of Women's Clubs, Boston, Massachusetts.

20th Annual Convention of Northern Federation of Women's Clubs, Boston, Massachusetts. 1916.
From the Eartha M.M. White Collection. University of North Florida, Special Collections and University Archives. 

Flyer: On to Memphis, Tennessee.  July 3,4,5, 1923. Southeastern Federation of Colored Women's Clubs.

Flyer: On to Memphis, Tennessee. July 3,4,5, 1923. Southeastern Federation of Colored Women's Clubs.

What is the 19th Amendment?

Margaret Murray Washington