The fight for woman suffrage was not new in this era, but it did have new momentum.
The road to suffrage was not without challenges. Although women of diverse backgrounds fought for suffrage, the movement’s leadership remained white and middle class. Black women in particular were forced to fight on the margins and faced racism from suffragists who saw Black activism as a direct threat to the cause. Furthermore, not all women wanted the vote, and many vehemently fought against suffrage.
Suffragists were rewarded on August 26, 1920, when Tennessee became the thirty-sixth state to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment. Election Day 1920 was a cause for celebration. But when only one-third of eligible women voted and most women of color were barred from the polling place, new challenges became clear.