For the Freedom of Her Race: Remembering Black Women in the Fight for the Vote

Date / Time

January 22, 2020 - January 22, 2020

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Join Jane Addams Hull-House Museum and Lisa Materson, author of For the Freedom of Her Race: Black Women and Electoral Politics in Illinois, 1877-1932 (University of North Carolina Press/March 2009) in a discussion about black suffragists in Illinois. Speakers include: Jane Rhodes (moderator), UIC Department Head and Professor of African American Studies, Beverly Cook, Senior Archivist at the Vivian Harsh Collection, and author Michelle Duster who is the great-granddaughter of journalist, anti-lynching advocate, and suffragist Ida B. Wells. The session will focus on the overlooked stories of black women in Illinois who advocated for voting rights and the racism within the suffrage movement – past and present – what is remembered, what is forgotten and how little has been told.


About the Book: Grounded in the rich history of Chicago politics, For the Freedom of Her Race (University of North Carolina Press/March 2009) tells a wide-ranging story about black women’s involvement in southern, midwestern, and national politics. Examining the oppressive decades between the end of Reconstruction in 1877 and the election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1932–a period that is often described as the nadir of black life in America–Lisa Materson shows that as African American women migrated beyond the reach of southern white supremacists, they became active voters, canvassers, suffragists, campaigners, and lobbyists, mobilizing to gain a voice in national party politics and elect representatives who would push for the enforcement of the Reconstruction Amendments in the South.

A partnership between Frances Willard House Museum, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum and the history department at Northwestern University in commemoration of the 2020 Suffrage Centennial. For more information on the Frances Willard House Museum, visit:

This program supports Jane Adams Hull-House Museum’s current exhibitions that commemorate the 100th anniversary in 2020 of women’s right to vote: Why Women Should Vote and True Peace: the Presence of Justice (September 19, 2019 – May 31, 2020).

FREE RSVP for For the Freedom of Her Race: Remembering Black Women in the Fight for the Vote

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