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#19SuffrageStories Countdown: Stories 19 to 15

Black-and-white photo of woman seated on a stage, wearing a hat and holding a piece of paper and pencil at which she glances down, as if reviewing her notes before speaking. Text: 1915 Daisy Elizabeth Adams Lampkin.

Daisy Elizabeth Adams Lampkin at an NAACP Civil Rights Convention in 1947. Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Joe Schwartz and Family, © Joe Schwartz

Who blazed the trail for voting rights for women across the nation?  Generations of women of all classes and races advocated for their political rights. The Smithsonian, Library of Congress, and National Archives are sharing lesser-known stories of suffragists to mark the centennial of the 19th Amendment. Learn #19SuffrageStories through the month of August and use our new set of women's history-inspired animated gifs and Instagram stickers on your social media posts.


Story 19: The 19th Amendment

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Who blazed the trail for voting rights for women across the nation?  Generations of women of all classes and races advocated for their political rights. The Smithsonian, Library of Congress, and National Archives are sharing lesser-known stories of suffragists to mark the centennial of the 19th Amendment. Learn #19SuffrageStories through the month of August and use our new set of women's history-inspired animated gifs and Instagram stickers on your social media posts.  Story 19: The 19th Amendment Social me
Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. National Archives.
 

After Congress passed a joint resolution for the 19th Amendment and Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment, it went into effect on August 26, 1920. The amendment states that the "right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex." But it did not guarantee the ballot.

Saying the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote leaves out the stories of the women, including many women of color, who fought for this right before and after the amendment went into effect. In 1920, many women were still denied access, including Native American women, African American women, Puerto Rican women, and Asian American women.

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Story 18: Eighteen African Americans Try to Register to Vote

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Graphic with text: 18 African Americans try to register to vote. Featuring an image of a historic poster with an image of Hamer clasping her hands together and speaking.
Poster of Fannie Lou Hamer from our National Museum of American History.
 

In 1962, Fannie Lou Hamer was one of 18 African Americans who traveled 26 miles from Ruleville, Mississippi, to the courthouse in Indianola, Mississippi, to register to vote. The group was told they would need to pass a literacy test in order to vote.

While the 19th Amendment granted many American women the right to vote, it did not remove racist Jim Crow laws that obstructed African American civil rights.

Hamer went on to help found the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. She gained national attention for the cause of African American voting rights at a televised committee hearing of the 1964 Democratic National Convention where she described the barriers that African Americans continued to face at the polls. Her speech galvanized support for the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

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Story 17: Adelina Otero-Warren

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Graphic with text: 1917 Adelina Otero-Warren. Portrait of Otero-Warren smiling and wearing a hat with a ribbon around it.
Photo of Adelina Otero-Warren from the Library of Congress. Glass-plate negative by Bain News Service, [1923]. Prints and Photographs Division.
 

In 1917, Adelina "Nina" Otero-Warren was tapped by Alice Paul, a leading suffragist, to head the New Mexico chapter of the Congressional Union, a precursor to the National Woman's Party. The Congressional Union was led by Paul and Lucy Burns, young Americans schooled in the militant tactics of the British suffrage movement. The Congressional Union brought renewed energy to the American movement and shifted attention away from state voting rights toward a federal suffrage amendment.

Otero-Warren's leadership proved crucial to the movement in New Mexico. She garnered support for suffrage among Spanish and English-speaking communities, insisting that suffrage materials be published in both languages. She later served as New Mexico's first woman government official.

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Story 16: Mabel Ping-Hua Lee, Suffragist Leader at 16

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Black and white photo of a young Chinese woman with short hair in a flowered dress. Text: Mabel Ping-Hua Lee, Suffragist Leader at 16 #19SuffrageStories.
Telegram from the Chinese Exclusion Act case file for Mabel Ping-Hua Lee. Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Record Group 85; National Archives at New York, New York, NY.
 

At age 16, Mabel Ping-Hua Lee led a 1912 suffrage parade on horseback in New York City. More than 3,000 people marched 43 blocks to support women's voting rights.

Lee moved from Canton, China, to the U.S. when she was four. A member of the New York Women's Political Equality League and an outspoken feminist, Lee began writing and speaking publicly about suffrage as a teenager. Though she marched and spoke for women's voting rights, the Chinese Exclusion Act kept her from becoming a U.S. citizen. Without citizenship, she was unable to vote when New York adopted women's suffrage in 1917 and when the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920.

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Story 15: Daisy Elizabeth Adams Lampkin

Black-and-white photo of woman seated on a stage, wearing a hat and holding a piece of paper and pencil at which she glances down, as if reviewing her notes before speaking. Text: 1915 Daisy Elizabeth Adams Lampkin.
Daisy Elizabeth Adams Lampkin at an NAACP Civil Rights Convention in 1947. Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Joe Schwartz and Family, © Joe Schwartz

In 1915, Daisy Elizabeth Adams Lampkin became president of the Lucy Stone Woman Suffrage League. She dedicated her life to supporting women's rights and civil rights.

Lampkin began hosting local suffragist meetings at her home near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and organizing African American women to engage in consumer groups for a few years before 1915. Much of her efforts centered on the organization of women's groups. Later in life she served as a field secretary and fundraiser for the NAACP.

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Continue reading the #19SuffrageStories countdown with stories 14 to 10.

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