What to look for

As you look through the memorabilia in your home and community, here are things you can look for, searching for information about women prior to 1930:

  • Letters, journals, and photographs of African American women, particularly leaders in the church, school, or community;
  • Newsletters and meeting notices published by African American Women’s Clubs;
  • The archives of Historic Black Churches and newsletters published, especially if there was a Woman’s Council or Auxiliary;
  • Family stories passed down about women’s voting experiences in the 1920s.

Here are examples of the these things:

Votes for Women_Crisis 1915 coverThis is an example from the NAACP’s The Crisis Magazine, that includes essays by both men and women on the issue of Suffrage.

Votes for Women: A Symposium by Leading Thinkers of Colored America,” The Crisis, published by the NAACP, New York, (August 1915), pp 178-192.



Negro Woman's Resolution_1920 TSLAThis example is a reprint of the “Resolutions” of the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs from their convention in Tuskegee, Alabama in July 1920.

Leaders urge women to get informed on issues such as:

  • civic studies
  • education issues
  • temperance

Image source: Tennessee State Library and Archives

N.F. Mosell - work fo the AA WomanChurches often supported the writings of African American women, that covered topics such as:

  • women’s rights,
  • suffrage,
  • education,
  • and racial uplift.

This book was written by Mrs. N. F. Mossell in 1894 with an introduction by Benjamin F. Lee, D.D., Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Source: New York Public Library Digital Collections

Every photograph tells a story. Look through old photographs, letters, and journals of African American women, particularly leaders in the church, school, or community.

Robert R.Church-Republican League at Church Park-Memphis-1917 (2) copy
Meeting of the Lincoln League Republican Party formed by Robert R Church Jr., with women present. (Image Source: Church Family Papers, Special Collections, University of Memphis.)
Crisis 1912 p. 240_girl
Young girl holds a “Votes for Women Banner,” c. 1912. Source: The Crisis, Vol. 4, No. 5 (September 1912), p. 240
photo (2)
African American women organized to take advantage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1921, Ettrick, Virginia (Source: Johnston Memorial Library, Virginia State University)