Coral Celeste Frazer. Vote!: Women’s Fight for Access to the Ballot Box. Minneapolis, MN: Twenty-First Century Books, 2020.
In conjunction with the anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, the one granting voting rights to women, comes a concise history of the long and determined struggle to win that civil right. Frazer pulls stories from the many brave and well-known suffrage leaders, such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. She also pays homage to the lesser known heroes and shares brief accounts of the likes of the Grimké sisters, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Esther Hobart Morris.
While 1920 is the year the United States’ Constitution was amended, several western states and territories had already passed legislation allowing women the right to vote. 51 years earlier, leaders of the Wyoming Territory gave white women the right to vote. Colorado followed suit and, with strong support from the Mormon church, Utah passed legislation in 1870. Idaho eventually passed a referendum in 1896, still well ahead of the national law.
Frazer doesn’t stop with the passage of the 19th amendment, but shares accounts of the fight to stop the discriminating practices in many states in keeping blacks and immigrants away from the polling booths. From the horrific historical event know as Bloody Sunday, during the Selma to Montgomery March, to her concise and visual explanation of gerrymandering, Frazer makes it clear that there exist continued struggles regarding voting rights.
This book is a solid introduction to the women’s suffrage movement and does a good job addressing the racism and classism present during the time periods. Given the timeliness of this topic, anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment, it would make a useful addition to the library collection.
Dewey: 324.623 (Juvenile or Teen) Interest Level: Grades 6-12
Reviews: School Library Journal, Kirkus, School Library Connection, Booklist
Younger students might like: Questions and Answers About Women’s Suffrage by Kate Light.
Fiction Pairing: Elementary/Middle: The Hope Chest by Karen Schwabach; Teen: The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters
Project: Help fund the making of Ahead of Her Time: Woman Suffrage in Idaho. This documentary is a joint project from Idaho Women in Leadership, Idaho State Historical Society, Idaho Public Television and many more partners and supporters. Learn more at https://www.idahowomen100.com/.
Online Exhibit from Library of Congress: Find the digital collection of primary sources on women’s history, including suffrage athttps://www.loc.gov/collections/?fa=subject:american+history%7Csubject:women%27s+history
Film: Suffragette (2015). The suffragette movement was happening in England as well as in the United States. This film dramatizes events from 1912 London. Rated PG-13. View before showing students.