Markers honor fight for women’s suffrage in Alabama | Alabama
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) – The fight to allow women to vote in Alabama, an issue that has been raised in white supremacist efforts to prevent black people from participating in polls, will be recalled in a series of historic markers across the state .
The first “Votes for Women” marker was dedicated on Wednesday in downtown Huntsville, with more planned in Birmingham, Decatur, Mobile, Selma and Tuskegee, al.com reported. The markers are white with writing in purple, which was the color of the women’s suffrage movement.
The markers are funded by the William Pomeroy Foundation, a New York-based organization that promotes and preserves local history.
Congress approved the 19th Amendment in 1919, and it came into effect the following year after Tennessee became the 36th state to vote for ratification. Alabama did not officially vote in favor of the amendment until 1953, but thousands of women had already registered and voted in the state by then.
The Huntsville Equal Suffrage Association was formed in 1895 when Susan B. Anthony and Carrie Chapman Catt spoke in the city. The movement has suffered “bumps” due to concerns about black votes, said Donna Castellano, executive director of the Huntsville Historical Foundation.
Some of the problems were related to the 1901 Alabama Constitution, designed to prevent black people from gaining the right to vote and political power.
“Since Alabama had spent so much time and energy depriving its black citizens of their rights in 1901, the last thing they wanted to do was open a door that would allow more black people to vote through of an equal suffrage amendment, ”said Castellano.
After a period of dormancy, she says, the Huntsville Equal Voting Association reformed in 1912 in the old downtown YMCA, where the Pomeroy monument is located.
Once women won the vote, they began to change Alabama by supporting measures such as restricting the employment of children in coal mines and textile factories and funding education. and teacher training. They also supported an end to Alabama’s system of hiring inmates to industry, “which was a form of institutionalized slavery through the Alabama prison system.”
“Things started to change when the women of Alabama got the vote,” Castellano said. “They certainly had an impact.”
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