“We ask suffrage not as a favor, not as a privilege, but as a right, based on the grounds that we are human beings, and as such entitled to all human rights.” (Charlotte Rollin, one of the first women and the first African-American woman to address the SC state legislature, in 1869)
From English common law to the fusion of abolition and women’s rights to the reluctant ratification of the 19th amendment in the SC General Assembly in 1969, Dr. Melissa Walker offers a comprehensive, nuanced, inspiring history of the women’s suffrage movement. She engages the racial and class dynamics that both connected and split the movement for women’s suffrage, to teach us our fuller history, and to illuminate the continuing fight for freedom, equity and human rights in our own time.
Dr. Walker reveals that even streets in Spartanburg—Plume and Connecticut in Converse Heights—witness to the women who fought for decades to expand the promise of democracy: “After th[e] demoralizing defeat of the Suffrage Amendment…[t]he South Carolina movement lay dormant for six years. It was revived in Spartanburg in 1912. That year, a woman named Emily Plume Evans gathered a number of her friends together to organize the New Era Club, an organization that was committed to advancing the industrial, legal, and educational rights of women and children.”
Dr. Walker tells the stories of amazing women who would not stop fighting for what they knew was right. And so, we are summoned.