The 1902 publication of the "History of Woman Suffrage," co-authored by Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Matilda Joslin Gage was a milestone in first-wave feminism, as it was the product of a massive effort to document women's continuing march toward equality and has since been a go-to source on American suffrage. However, many of the black women leaders who also rallied alongside white women for abolition, temperance and the right to vote were overshadowed or erased completely from the history book. In fact, Sojourner Truth the only African-American mentioned.
The true history of the quest for the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote, ratified in 1920, is incomplete without understanding the intersection of race and gender at the time in post-Civil War, Reconstruction-era America. After the passage of the 15th Amendment that gave black men voting rights, the mainstream suffrage movement underwent a devastating splintering in which many white suffrage leaders, including Susan B. Anthony, largely turned their backs on the enfranchisement of black women for fear of racial politics detracting from their gender-focused initiatives.
Though by no means a comprehensive round-up of all the fearless, pioneering African-American women of the 19th and early 20th century who agitated for women's rights while simultaneously seeking to uplift black communities across the United States, the following nine women are a snapshot of incredible lives often overlooked in superficial histories of turn-of-the-century feminism.