VANGUARD: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All
a book review
One might think that what started in Seneca Falls and ended in 1920 with the ratification of the nineteenth amendment sums up the suffrage crusade. But the majority white women’s movement did not secure the vote for African American women.
The book Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All, written by Martha S. Jones, shares her thoughts and observations on the political lives of black and brown women in America and their ability to fight for the ballot, despite sexism and racism. Brave women displayed political power in the fight to obtain dignity and equality for themselves and others-with little to no credit.
One cannot deny the fact that 2019-2020 have turned into great years for African-American women in politics. Yet, many fail to know about the hundreds of years of history that set the stage for the Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams, Keisha Bottoms generation. Jones’ extensive research tells the stories of African American women who, for years, fought for political rights during a time that black women also fought patriarchy and systemic, deep-seated racism.
Jones shares stories of her great-great grandmother, who was born a slave, and her grandmother who fought for African American women’s political rights through churches, organizations, schools, and community.
In the end, the book displays family history as it reveals the black women vanguard obtaining political power beyond the ballot box.
A great book and history lesson—I recommend you carve out time to read it!
WaTasha Barnes Griffin--League member & community activist