SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The 19th amendment was ratified 100 years ago, giving women the right to vote. A descendant of a black suffragist and a local professor discuss the role women of color played in the suffrage movement.
Michelle Duster is the great grandaughter of Ida B. Wells, who fought for civil rights and women’s voting rights. The two missions often collided as Wells fought racism within the suffrage movement. “There were women, then and now, who are descendants of slave owners,” said Duster. “So it’s hard to imagine that somebody, who considered Black women to be property, would also consider those women to be equals.”
Denise Dupree, Political Science Professor at Southern University at Shreveport, says when women were granted the right to vote, the fight was far from over for black and white women alike. “Poll taxes started coming in. Voter oppression started coming in. Voter intimidation became a huge deal,” Dupree explained.
Those issues continued for people of color, leading to the voting rights act of 1965, which was designed to protect voters against discrimination.
Dupree, who is also a Grambling City Councilwoman, ontinues the fight for equality… 100 years after the 19th amendment was ratified.
“So for me being a young black woman,” said Dupree. “It’s very important that I not only use the platform that I have, that was given to me by the women who marched on the suffrage movement, to not only get in office, but also to put policies in place to ensure that our rights are still being granted.”