Black ExperienceWomen's Suffrage Movement

Race Lens Used as Conduit for Exploring New Women’s Suffrage Initiative

A new initiative that focuses on highlighting and redefining the story of women’s liberation — “Suffrage. Race. Power. (S.R.P.) Black Women Unerased” — recently launched amid a website and social media campaign that reframes the narrative leading to the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which granted women voting rights.

Conceived and led by Black women, the initiative provides storytelling that celebrates those marginalized, ignored or erased from the American democracy conversation.

“Suffrage Unerased is as much about the present as the past,” said campaign director Gwen McKinney. “The initiative defines suffrage beyond the single act of casting a ballot to the full exercise of voice, inclusion and destiny. Black women’s contributions to the suffrage movement are hardly known — actually erased.

McKinney said the initiative promises to stoke awareness and public engagement in the period leading up to the Aug. 18 centennial of the 19th Amendment and continue through the presidential elections in November.

The campaign launched in collaboration with Washington Informer Charities and The Washington Informer, which has served D.C.’s Black community for more than 55 years.

“We are honored to lock arms with [Informer] Publisher Denise Rolark Barnes who walks in the footsteps of legions of pioneering Black Press journalists and publishers,” McKinney said. “These suffragists — then and now — are unsung warriors who have waged gallant fights against slavery, lynching and intractable discrimination while advocating for women’s equality and justice for all.”

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