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

by Martha S. Jones

Hardcover, 2020




Basic Books (2020), 352 pages


The epic history of African American women's pursuit of political power -- and how it transformed America. 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.… (more)


(6 ratings; 4.1)

User reviews

LibraryThing member LibroLindsay
The structure of this book relies on a series of biographies to build a picture of the role of Black women in politics. I learned a ton about these women--some were previously unfamiliar to me, others I'd only known in a very specific role (like Frances Ellen Watkins Harper as a poet) whose
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accomplishments went so much further. That said, it often felt more like a collective biography rather than an overarching history, and I wish I had more meat that comes with a wider lens. It felt a little like jumping from A to B to C to B to D to A to C, etc. This book did broaden my scope of history as it's not taught to us in school, and I hope to read more dedicated biographies and memoirs of these (and other) trailblazing women.
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Original language


Physical description

352 p.; 9.65 inches


1541618610 / 9781541618619
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