Photo by Michael Fleshman
Photo by Michael Fleshman

This is part of an ongoing Washington Informer series about the Women’s Suffrage Movement and an initiative that includes Informer Publisher Denise Rolark Barnes that will use the lens of history, the fabric of art and culture and the venue of the public square to shine a light into dark places, equipping all with a compass to chart the way forward. The initiative lives in the institutional home of the Washington Informer Charities.

The race for the Black woman vote is on, but the frantic attempt to secure their support stands as a reminder of the vital role that Black women played in the suffrage movement.

“Black women wield so much power because they are the driving force of any institution, whether it be in the public or private sphere,” said Veronique Ehamo, a human rights activist and doctoral candidate in politics and international relations with a focus on African studies.

“When given the opportunity, Black women not only thrive but excel immeasurably,” Ehamo said. “Take college education statistics as an example. Historically, through an awareness of intersectionality, Black women could not devote just individual efforts for African Americans or women suffrage. It is important to acknowledge the crucial role black women played in getting the 15th and 19th Amendments passed.”

Now, decades past suffrage movements, with firm allegiance, Black women continue vocally supporting agendas that cater to the betterment of lives of people of color, Ehamo said.

“Not only do we show up, but we influence others to take part in the voting process, canvas for politicians, and campaign on the front lines for mutual objectives,” she said. “To maintain an upstanding partnership with Black female voters, both Democrats and Republicans should be cognizant of all mentioned key factors. Assuring the interest of Black women is being met by their political platforms is paramount.”

It’s also notable that presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is seeking a woman — likely one of color — as his vice president.

Former U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, California Sen. Kamala Harris and Florida Rep. Val Demings — all women of color — are among the contenders.

Recently, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) pulled out as a potential candidate stating that Biden should choose a woman of color for the post.

“In 2016, with the impending election, I began singing songs and talking from the stage in support of everyone voting and voicing themselves,” said vocal artist Virginia Schenck. “I reflected on the fact that it had been only two generations back that women earned the right to vote. History reminded me that it took the 15th Amendment in 1870 for African American men to earn the right to vote, though follow-through remained a challenge. Even with President Lyndon Johnson signing the Voters Rights Act in 1966, gerrymandering and voter suppression persists, and we still have challenges,

“We are all inhabitants of this great country,” Schenck said. “Each with a voice. Each with a vote. How far we’ve come. How much further to go.”

Macarena Rabanedo, a Miami-based political consultant, believes it’s an excellent idea for Biden to select a woman of color, in part because of the power of Black women voters.

Rabanedo said Rice would be his ideal candidate.

“Loved by Democrats and independents alike, Ambassador Rice brings to the table the hope to restore America’s standing in the world,” Rabanedo said. “A Black woman with vast knowledge in international relations and foreign policy, saving the world from the travesty that was President Donald Trump’s doctrine would be one for the books.”

Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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