Suffragettes

In 1913, members of the Louisiana delegation for the Women Suffrage Procession went to Washington, D.C. 

I recently read with great interest an Oct. 1 letter to the editor from Huey Harrison, who voiced concerns about C-SPAN’s commemorations of the centennial of the 19th Amendment that granted women the right to vote.

In the letter, Harrison wrote: “I would have loved to hear the names of African American suffragettes such as Ida B. Wells, Fannie Williams, Nannie Helen Burroughs or Mary Ann Cary along with the aforementioned White suffragettes. In the pantheon of suffragettes, African American women have earned the same honor as White women.”

Over the summer of 2020, PBS began an initiative celebrating the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment by providing extensive programming and digital assets marking this monumental turning point in our country’s history.

The program “American Experience: The Vote,” in particular, brought to life for viewers many of the unsung leaders of the women’s suffrage movement and explored the deep controversies over gender roles and race that divided Americans throughout the process. The two-part film is free to watch at www.lpb.org or with the LPB App.

I would encourage anyone wanting to learn more about the important role Black women played in the hard-fought battle by American women for the right to vote to spend time exploring the PBS website American Experience: The Vote. There, you will find numerous articles on the role of Black women in the battle for ballot access and multiple digital shorts on topics such as the role of journalist Ida B. Wells and The Ongoing Fight, a story about the continued obstacles Black women face at the polling place even 100 years after the passage of the 19th Amendment.

BETH COURTNEY

president, Louisiana Public Broadcasting

Baton Rouge

Letters: Black suffragettes, too, toiled for right to vote, long delayed