Catawba County News

McComb: Women's Suffrage Presentation

McComb: Women's Suffrage Presentation

Published: July 09, 2020

As the Catawba County Library partners with local organizations to mark the centennial of women’s suffrage in the United States, it’s offering select programs to tell the story of the 70-year quest for equal access to the voting booth.

Dr. Veronica McComb, associate professor of history at Lenoir-Rhyne University, will unravel some of the circumstances and tensions as she delivers an engaging online talk about the long journey to secure women’s suffrage – including the poor treatment of African-American suffragists.

The talk will be shared as a Zoom event at 6 pm on Tuesday, July 14. Registration is required; anyone interested is asked to register via email at Login information will be emailed to participants the morning of July 14.

As the nation worked to rebuild and reunite following the Civil War, women and black men were both pursuing the right to vote. When the 15th Amendment succeeded first in 1870, empowering black men, the women’s suffrage movement reeled from the setback but kept striving.

It would be 50 more years until women finally achieved the right to vote with the ratification of the 19th Amendment. During that time, advocates were forced to strategize for support, changing alliances and leaving behind some original partners in order to focus the effort and give it the best chance of passage.

This type of jockeying for suffrage victories – for men and women, black and white – required ongoing, often contentious political and social calculations, revealing a muddied, bruising story behind the history of American voting rights.

The Centennial Suffrage project is supported by a grant from the United Arts Council of Catawba County. Partner organizations include the Hickory Museum of Art, the Hickory Public Library, the Historical Association of Catawba County, and the League of Women Voters of Catawba County.