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The Intertwined Histories Of Winning The Vote

Library of Congress
Wikimedia Commons

The right of women to vote was added to the U.S. constitution one hundred years ago. To understand the Nineteenth Amendment, look back fifty years, just after the Civil War, to the provision that opened the vote to Black men. Michael Ross is a professor of constitutional history: “As one newspaper said, there were loopholes through which a coach and four horses could be driven in the 15th amendment, and they knew it. But it was a political calculation that this pared-down version of the 15th amendment was sent to the states.”

So pared-down, the 1870 amendment did not include women. Writer Elaine Weiss, an expert on the suffrage movement, says women who had worked for the abolition of slavery, felt betrayed. It took decades to heal the rift.

The Maryland Commission for Women is hosting its Virtual Conference on August 26th in partnership with The Maryland Commission on the Commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the Passage of the 19th Amendment. More information here.

Sheilah Kast is the host of On The Record, Monday-Friday, 9:30-10:00 am.
Maureen Harvie is Senior Supervising Producer for On the Record. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and joined WYPR in 2014 as an intern for the newsroom. Whether coordinating live election night coverage, capturing the sounds of a roller derby scrimmage, interviewing veterans, or booking local authors, she is always on the lookout for the next story.