Protecting the Legacy:
African American Women and The Vote in Tennessee Before 1930
This project is organized by Chick History and a coalition of partners across Tennessee. We are digitizing family and local history related to African American women’s political history in Tennessee before 1930. This is an effort to expand the narrative of suffrage, voting, and political activity; and to preserve the contributions and experiences of African American women during this time period.
Do you have this family heritage to share?
To do this work, we are asking the public to share their family and community history. That means looking for old newspapers or church programs with meeting notices for the local chapters of the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs. It means digging through old photographs for pictures of women who were active in the community and church. It means looking differently at letters, journals, or everyday material long stashed away in an attic, and rethinking the sense of community history.
How we will save it:
Original photographs, documents, and memorabilia will be scanned and digitized at events held across Tennessee over the next two years. Once the project is complete, the digital collection will be donated to an archive. All items scanned or photographed will be returned to the owner. No physical items will be collected, and owners retain ownership and copyright.
How to Start
The public’s help is needed to uncover local suffrage histories. Please look through your family and community history for information about African American women that dates to 1930 and earlier. Places to start include:
- Letters, journals, and photographs of African American women, particularly leaders in the church, school, or community;
- Newsletters and meeting notices published by Historic Black Churches and Women’s Clubs;
- Family stories passed down about women’s voting experiences in the 1920s.
Names and Places
We have also begun research in Memphis, and a list of names and places. Please look through these lists for anything you recognize and think you may have some material or information on them.
What is “political activity”?
- Anything that mentions voting, suffrage, elected officials, politicians, political parties, elections, and issue work.
- Early activism work of anti-lynching, education reform, nursing and medicine, temperance, and other social issue. Read more about the History of Black Women’s Activism. >>
If you have questions or believe you have material, please contact us using this form or by calling 615-913-2513.
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