Still Battling to Realize Promise of the 19th Amendment
This week (Aug. 26) we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which was intended to allow women the right to vote in America. While the 19th amendment represented an important step in the women’s suffrage movement, most Black women and women of color would have to fight for years and even decades to be able to exercise this right.
Following ratification, many states would impose barriers, including poll taxes and literacy tests, specifically designed to prevent Black Americans from voting. It wasn’t until the Voting Rights Act in 1965 that the U.S. enabled racial inclusion in our democratic process. And the battle continues. Even today, racialized voter suppression takes other forms such as closing down polling stations in primarily Black communities and voter ID requirements that disproportionately affect communities of color. The right to vote is one of the most fundamental rights in America. Having equitable access and opportunity to cast your ballot is key to a healthy democracy.