From no vote to suffrage to Shelby v. Holder, and why we still must fight for our right to vote.
Know Your Rights
Know Your Rights tells the story of American women’s long and arduous fight for a voice in the laws and policies that affect their daily lives – from no vote in 1789 to the 19th amendment; Jim Crow to the 1965 Voting Rights Acts; 2013 Shelby v. Holder to voter suppression today. By exercising their right to vote, women expanded their involvement in America’s political life from 1920 to the centennial of women’s right to vote – elected to political office and appointed to governmental agencies, women played crucial roles in laying the groundwork for the landmark social justice programs of the New Deal and the Great Society. Today, with voting rights under attack, women are still fighting to defend this vital right.
In Speaking OUT, we hear from a woman who reached voting age after the 1965 Voting Rights Act went into effect. As a child, she was outraged to learn that her parents could not vote because they lived in Washington, DC. As an adult, she knows the right to vote is too important and too fragile to take for granted.
Then and Now
In Then and Now, multiple generations of American women share how voting rights laws have affected their lives. Women born after 1920 were the first generation to grow up with their right to vote guaranteed by the 19th amendment; yet many were disenfranchised by local reality or immigration laws. Their daughters, women of the 1960s cohort, were able to vote freely without facing poll taxes or literacy tests. Their granddaughters could vote in the historic 2020 election for the first female and biracial Vice President. Their great-granddaughters could eagerly anticipate reaching voting age. Now, however, women of all ages are once again raising the alarm against new voter suppression laws in many states.