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American women in politics

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Title: American women in politics  
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Subject: History of civil rights in the United States, Politics of the United States, African-American women in politics, African-American history
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

American women in politics

African-American women have been involved in American political issues and advocating for the community since the social services, and advocacy. Issues that deal with identity, racism, and sexism have been important to African-American women in the political dialogue.

Suffrage and voting rights

Sojourner Truth (c. 1870)

Efforts to attain [1]

Though women obtained the right to vote in the United States in [1] Others were threatened with physical violence, false charges, and other extreme danger to prevent voting.[2] Due to these tactics and others that marginalized people of color, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was put into place. It outlawed any discriminatory acts to prevent people from voting.

Women and Black Power

Despite the fact that elements of the Black Power movement had some views centered on misogyny,[3] African-American women quickly found a voice in the movement. Women held leadership positions, ran community-based programs, and fought misogyny.[3] Other women also contributed to the [5]

Political representation

African-American women have been underrepresented in politics within the United States, but numbers continue to increase. According to the [7] rallies, and fundraisers.

Shirley Chisholm ran for president of the United States in 1972.

Though African-American women have run for presidential nomination in several campaigns, many have been labeled as "non-viable" due partly to their party affiliations, i.e., Charlene Mitchell in 1968 for the Communist Party USA, Lenora Fulani in 1988 for the New Alliance Party, and Cynthia McKinney in 2008 for the Green Party. Shirley Chisholm ran as both the "black candidate" and the "woman candidate" in the 1972 presidential campaign and "found herself shunned by leaders from the political establishments she helped to found—the Congressional Black Caucus and the National Women's Political Caucus."[8] Still, Chisholm was able to gain 151 votes at the Democratic National Convention, despite missing the presidential nomination.[8]

In 1993, Carol Moseley Braun became the first African American woman to be elected to the United States Senate, and the only female senator from Illinois. Braun's original spark came from her anger at incumbent Democratic senator Alan Dixon's vote to confirm Clarence Thomas after his 1991 sexual harassment scandal. Shortly after being elected, Braun took a one-woman stand against the United Daughters of the Confederacy's renewal of patent for the Confederate flag as their insignia.[9] Though Braun considered it a non-issue, she was still puzzled: "Who would have expected a design patent for the Confederate flag?"[10] Incredibly, Braun was able to sway the Senate vote against renewal of the patent. The United Daughters of the Confederacy no longer uses the confederate flag as their insignia.

National Security Advisor. She was known and widely criticized for her views on foreign policy[11] and the American War in Iraq.

Although not in political office, Michelle Obama, the first African-American First Lady of the United States, has made an impact on women in the 21st century. Obama became first Lady of the United States in 2009, when her husband, Barack Obama, took office as President of the United States. Michelle Obama has donated her services to soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and other urban social services,[12] but she eventually found her niche in childhood obesity. Obama has created Let's Move[13] in an effort to reduce childhood obesity around the nation.[14]


The National Council of Negro Women, located at 633 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., exists today as a non-profit organization.

A number of organizations supporting African-American women have historically played an important role in politics.[15] The National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), was founded in 1935 by civil rights activist Mary McLeod Bethune and was more involved in African-American politics with the aim to improve the quality of life for African-American women and families. NCNW still exists today as a non-profit organization reaching out through research, advocacy, and social services in the United States and Africa.

In 1946 Mary Fair Burks founded the Women's Political Council (WPC) as a response to discrimination in the Montgomery League of Women Voters, who refused to allow African-American women to join.[17] The WPC sought to improve social services for the African-American community and is famously known for instigating the Montgomery Bus Boycott.[18]

In the 1970s, the [20] Perhaps the most notable piece to come out of the Combahee River Collective was the Combahee River Collective Statement, which helped to expand on ideas about identity politics.[21]

In 2014, political activist and women's rights leader Leslie Wimes founded the Democratic African-American Women's Caucus in Florida. She enlisted the help of Wendy Sejour and Mayor Daisy black to help African-American Women in the state of Florida have a voice. [22] In the last two presidential elections, the turnout percentage of African-American women was greater than all other demographic groups, yet has not translated into more African-American Women in office, or political power for African-American women. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe credits African-American Women for his win in the state. [23] Black women-owned businesses are the fastest growing segment of the women owned business market.[24] The DAAWC seeks to increase the number of elected African-American Women on the State and Federal levels, as well as focus on issues specific to African-American Women. While the DAAWC begins in the state of Florida, the organization is hoping to expand to other states to mobilize the political power of African-American Women.

See also



  1. ^ a b Terborg-Penn, R (1998). African American women in the struggle for the vote:1850–1920. Bloomington,IN: Indiana University Press. p. 8.  
  2. ^ Prescod, M. (1997). Shining in the Dark: Black Women and the Struggle for the Vote, 1955–1965. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press.  
  3. ^ a b Williams, R.Y. (2008). "Black Women and Black Power". OAH Magazine of History (Sage Publications, Inc.) 22 (3): 22–26.  
  4. ^ Ogbonna, J. (2005), Black power: radical politics and african american identity, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ Press, p. 105 
  5. ^ Williams, R.Y. (2006). Black women, urban politics, and engendering black power. In P.E. Joseph (Ed.), The black power movement: Rethinking the civil rights-black power era. New York: Routledge. p.79-103.
  6. ^ "Facts about women of color in elective office". Rutgers, New Jersey: Center for American Women and Politics. 2010. Retrieved July 24, 2011. 
  7. ^ Rosenthal, C.S. (1998). "Determinants of collaborative leadership: civic engagement, gender or organizational norms?". Political Research Quarterly (Sage Publications, Inc.) 51 (4): 847–868.  
  8. ^ a b Smooth, W.G. (2010). "Standing at the crossroads". Crisis (Crisis Publications Inc.) 117 (2): 14–20. 
  9. ^ McCain, L. (1997), African American women in congress: forming and transforming history, New Jersey: Rutgers Univ Press,  
  10. ^ Clay, J. (2000), Rebels in law: voices in history of black women lawyers, Michigan: Univ of Michigan Press, p. 152,  
  11. ^ "Cheney In Twilight", Time, March 19, 2007.
  12. ^ Romano, Lois (March 31, 2009). "Michelle's Image: From Off-Putting To Spot-On". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 4, 2009. 
  13. ^ Let’s Move!
  14. ^ Stolberg, S.G. (January 14, 2010). "After a Year of Learning, the First Lady Seeks Out a Legacy". The New York Times. p. A20. Retrieved July 25, 2010. 
  15. ^ Smith, Robert C (2003). Encyclopedia of African-American politics. New York City: Facts On File. p. 240.  
  16. ^ Gray, D (1999). Too heavy a load: Black women in defense of themselves, 1894–1994. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. p. 42.  
  17. ^ Ryan, B (2001). Identity politics in the women's movement. New York City: NYU Press.  
  18. ^ Freedman, R. (2006). Freedom walkers: the story of the Montgomery bus boycott. New York: Holiday House. p. 33.  
  19. ^ Irvin, N. (2006). Creating black americans: african-american history and its meanings, 1619 to the present. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 317.  
  20. ^ Smith, B. (2000). Home girls: a black feminist anthology. New Jersey: Rutgers Univ Press. pp. 264–276.  
  21. ^ Kyungwon, G. (2006). The ruptures of american capital: women of color feminism and the culture of immigrant labor. Amherst: Univ Of Minnesota Press. p. xxvi.  
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
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