Don’t Forget the White History of the Women’s Rights Movement

Azu Esparza Hernandez, opinions editor

There is often a lot of erasure of the work women of color have done in our country for women’s suffrage. The truth is, many of the historical figures that are highlighted throughout classrooms and the media were racist and did not fight for all women. The work that white suffragettes did is an important part of history, but it should not be the only piece of history that should be remembered during Women’s History Month. 

During the women’s suffrage movement, the main objective was to win voting rights for white women. Many of the women that supported the 19th Amendment also supported the 15th Amendment, which was explicitly against the right for Black men to vote. There was no intersectionality, and no place for Black women to be accepted. This is where the issue lies. We should be doing better at educating ourselves and others about the difficulties that Black, Indegenous and women of color have gone through throughout history. It is a very important part of our nation’s history and it deserves to be honored as such. 

The right for Black women to vote came years after the 19th Amendment, which only secured the right for white women to vote, was ratified. Black women’s right to vote was not protected until the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Native Americans did not have the right to vote nationwide until the 1950s. This is also not including the plethora of barriers that are still implemented to prevent people of color from voting even in present times. 

It is important to widen our knowledge of women’s history and really take the time to learn more about the strong women that worked so hard for women’s rights! Intersectionality is important in our history, as this country is filled with so many women of so many different identities. 

Although it should be done year-round, Black, Indigenous and women of color’s voices should be uplifted this month. Be intentional with your media consumption and you can learn so much. This can be done in many different ways! Listen to a podcast by BIWoC creators. Read a book by a BIWoC author. Donate to a crowdfunding campaign supporting issues specific to the BiWoC community. But most importantly, take the time to celebrate and uplift women this Women’s History Month.