Teaching about U.S. Women’s Fight for the Vote

Posted by Speakeasy News > Wednesday 29 July 2020 > Webpicks

In commemoration of the hundredth anniversary of women obtaining the right to vote in the U.S.A. in 1920, these videos and mini-site provide thought-provoking teaching tools.

The Belmont-Paul Women's Equality Monument is based in the house in Washington, DC, which has housed the National Women's Party  since 1929. It is now run but the National Parks Service, and NPS rangers have made a series of short, simple videos in honour of the suffrage centennial, called Suffrage in Sixty Seconds.

This introductory video is a great general introduction usable from B1.

For a movement that had its roots in anti-slavery activism, the suffragists were no more immune to racial tensions than the rest of the country. Some early suffrage leaders had in fact opposed the 15th Amendment, which gave black men the vote after the Civil War, arguing that it would be better to fight for an amendment that gave all citizens the vote.

This second short video gives a glimpse of the discrimination suffered by African American suffragists, in this case Ida B. Wells. When the NWP staged the first ever political march on Washington, DC, in 1913, its leader, Alice Paul, refused to have black and white suffragists march together. After watching the video and understanding how Ida B. Wells got round the ban, it is worth asking pupils to discuss why the organisation may have chosen not to address the issue of racial discrimination, possibly sacrificing the rights of one group in the pursuit of rights for all.

Creating Icons
This  mini site from the National Museum of American History , Creating Icons, would be excellent to use with older students. It examines how the legend of leaders such as Susan B. Anthony were created, and questions who were really all the activists involved in the fight for the vote (including African Americans,  Native Americans and Asian Americans). It fits well with the vision of history students study in History-Geography, and themes such as Fictions and Realities.

Celebrate See the related news
> Centennial of Suffrage