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By Gwen McKinneyThe Centennial of the 19th Amendment granting women voting rights has been widely (and erroneously) regarded as the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage. Passage of the Act in 1920 was the culmination of a campaign that began in the mid-1800s. The beneficiaries were mostly White women, uplifted from grinding male patriarchy. With ratification of the 19th Amendment, they aimed to elevate their status, removing the scourge of second-class citizenship.

Women of the 19th Century were unable to own property, divorce, file legal claims, or even speak in public. Many of the early suffragists were Quakers, some initially ambivalent about voting rights but staunch supporters of women’s equality. The principal spearheads were also abolitionist activists who united with Black men and women around emancipation tied to a . . . Read More on OWN.