The 19th Amendment Did Not Liberate Black Women

Assessing the Roles of Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman

Allison Wiltz

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Photo Credit | Yandanwong

“This week marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment. And we celebrate the women who fought for that right,” Harris said. “Yet so many of the Black women who helped secure that victory were still prohibited from voting, long after its ratification.” — Kamala Harris (Tensley 2020)

The heroes a society accepts say a lot about the values they share. The original American heroes, the Founding fathers, were white men who never regarded Black people or women equally. Despite their violent, sexist, and racist ideology, Americans continue to put these men on pedestals, capitulating to their determination to commit genocide against Indigenous people and exalting them despite their embrace of slavery. These men are not heroes to Black people, and they should not be heroes to many Americans. Turning a blind eye to tyranny is not chivalrous; it’s obscene.

Forced to endure low wages, high maternal mortality rates, and overt acts of racism and sexism, Black women and women of color still find themselves at the bottom of the social pecking order. Long before Black women gained representation in Congress through Shirley Chisholm’s historic run in 1968, women like Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth fought for women’s suffrage and the abolition of slavery the 1800s. Unable to separate their race from their sex, Black women and women of color must always fight a two-headed dragon.

The fight for women’s suffrage, often portrayed as a unifying moment, usually leaves out the struggle of Black women who fought for the advancement of all women and all Black people. Modern, intersectional feminism acts to address the needs of non-white women. However, if the past is any indicator of the future, this will be a steep climb.

What is Freedom?

Freedom is the ability to define oneself and act following one’s beliefs without external limitations. Possessing unclipped wings, free people can live, laugh, and love freely. It is worth fighting for and yes, even dying for.

Bound to generations upon generations of enslavement, Black people suffered systematic abuse and racism. In response to these horrors, white…

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Allison Wiltz

Womanist Scholar bylines @ Momentum, Oprah Daily, ZORA, GEN, EIC of Cultured #WEOC Founder allisonthedailywriter.com https://ko-fi.com/allyfromnola