9 African-American Suffragists You Should Know

Ida B. Wells
Courtesy: Memphis Commercial Appeal

Journalist, suffragist and anti-lynching crusader, Ida B. Wells was a fearless activist for racial and gender equality. After witnessing the horrors of lynching in the Jim Crow South, Wells moved to Illinois and began speaking out about the racist violence being directed at African Americans. By the 1890s, Wells anti-lynching crusade was taken up by the various women's clubs across the nation, and that issue, along with women's suffrage, became the platforms upon which the National Association of Colored Women was founded in 1896. Wells also went on to establish the Alpha Suffrage Club, the largest black woman's suffrage club in Illinois, and in 1913, she defiantly marched with white suffragists in the National American Women's Suffrage Association's Washington D.C. march, despite organizers' instructions that black women remain at the back of the parade. The resulting press coverage assured black women of their place in the suffrage movement.