Women of color shaped the U.S. suffrage movement, framing women’s right to vote as fundamental to parallel movements for racial justice and citizenship reforms. In a collective biography of six suffrage activists, Cahill profiles three Indigenous women: Gertrude Simmons Bonnin, Marie Louise Bottineau Baldwin, and Laura Cornelius Kellogg alongside Mabel Ping-Hua Lee, Carrie Williams Clifford, and Nina Otero-Warren who brought the interests of Chinese immigrants, African-Americans, and Hispano-Americans respectively to the suffrage movement. Their struggles emphasize the ongoing work to make the political nation more equitable. In a wide-ranging conversation Cahill and Voyles grapple with the profound consequences of digitization of newspapers and government records on historical methods, and the methods by which people with divergent interests rooted in the perspectives of minoritized communities might still develop methods to speak across those differences to mobilize for a common political objective.
Traci Brynne Voyles (Associate Professor & Chair, Department of Women’s & Gender Studies, University of Oklahoma) speaks with Cathleen D. Cahill (Associate Professor, Department of History, Pennsylvania State University) about her recent book, Recasting the Vote: How Women of Color Transformed the Suffrage Movement (The University of North Carolina Press, 2020),
(Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 2020).