Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All

Date / Time

September 17, 2020

6:00 pm - 10:15 pm

Book Launch and Reception

Join Jane Addams Hull-House Museum in conversation with Martha S. Jones author of Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote and Insisted on Equality for All (Basic/2020) and Leslie Harris (moderator), professor, department of history, Northwestern University.

About the Book: In the standard story, the suffrage crusade began in Seneca Falls in 1848 and ended with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. But this overwhelmingly white women’s movement did not win the vote for most black women. Securing their rights required a movement of their own. In Vanguard, acclaimed historian Martha S. Jones offers a new history of African American women’s political lives in America. She recounts how they defied both racism and sexism to fight for the ballot, and how they wielded political power to secure the equality and dignity of all persons. From the earliest days of the republic to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and beyond, Jones excavates the lives and work of black women — Maria Stewart, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Fannie Lou Hamer, and more— who were the vanguard of women’s rights, calling on America to realize its best ideals. Books will be available for purchase from Seminary Co-op Bookstore.

About the author:

Professor Martha S. Jones is the Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professor and Professor of History at The Johns Hopkins University. She is a legal and cultural historian whose work examines how black Americans have shaped the story of American democracy.

A partnership between Frances Willard House Museum, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum and 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).

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