ABOUT THIS BOOK
“Lively and delightful…zooms in on the faces in the crowd to help us understand both the depth and the diversity of the women’s suffrage movement. Some women went to jail. Others climbed mountains. Visual artists, dancers, and journalists all played a part…Far from perfect, they used their own abilities, defects, and opportunities to build a movement that still resonates today.”
—Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, author of Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History
“An intimate account of the unheralded activism that won women the right to vote, and an opportunity to celebrate a truly diverse cohort of first-wave feminist changemakers.”
“Demonstrates the steady advance of women’s suffrage while also complicating the standard portrait of it.”
The story of how American women won the right to vote is usually told through the lives of a few iconic leaders. But movements for social change are rarely so tidy or top-heavy. Why They Marched profiles nineteen women—some famous, many unknown—who worked tirelessly out of the spotlight protesting, petitioning, and insisting on their right to full citizenship.
Ware shows how women who never thought they would participate in politics took actions that were risky, sometimes quirky, and often joyous to fight for a cause that mobilized three generations of activists.
The dramatic experiences of these pioneering feminists—including an African American journalist, a mountain-climbing physician, a southern novelist, a polygamous Mormon wife, and two sisters on opposite sides of the suffrage divide—resonate powerfully today, as a new generation of women demands to be heard.
[Ware] places 19 women who've been overlooked because of race, class or sexuality back on the front lines of the fight for the ballot. Their stories provide readers with an intimate account of the unheralded activism that won women the right to vote, and an opportunity to celebrate a truly diverse cohort of first-wave feminist changemakers.
Her cast of characters usefully illustrates the geographic, racial, religious, and socioeconomic range of the suffrage movement. Ultimately, though, the diversity of the voting-rights advocates is less shocking than the diversity of voting rights themselves…Demonstrates the steady advance of women’s suffrage while also complicating the standard portrait of it: the right to vote is less a switch than a dial, one that can be turned up or dimmed down.
-- Casey Cep New Yorker
Looks at 19 activists from around the country, from a variety of races and backgrounds, revealing that the movement was made up of a wider and much more diverse group than is typically noted in the history books…It comes at a potent moment as the nation next year will see the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which deals with women’s suffrage, and a presidential election that has drawn a record number of women candidates.
-- Boston Globe
A smart, eclectic collection of 19 mini-biographies of Americans who worked for women’s suffrage…Ware’s excellent compendium expertly shows there are new ways to tell the suffrage story. This is a must-read for those interested in women’s and American history.
-- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Ware does a wonderful job of highlighting people and subjects often passed over when exploring the fight for women’s rights…[She] does not shy away from some of the controversies often hidden when studying suffragism, namely racism, and is able to give both a broad and detailed look at the movement.
-- Library Journal (starred review)
Refreshingly, Ware…focuses on many of the lesser-known but equally audacious, talented women who joined the fight, profiling 19 courageous individuals…Important American history that is also timely given recent attempts at voter suppression.
-- Kirkus Reviews
A complete historical portrait of the suffrage movement. Ware delves into the racism and Eurocentrism of the suffrage movement, as well as portraying suffragists from the South and West, Mormon suffragists, and pockets of suffrage history just brought to light. A tremendous work…this is my newest favorite history book.
-- Nancy Snyder Book Riot
As we see abortion rights attacked so fiercely in the U.S., this book is a reminder that winning the vote was not the end of the fight. It was the beginning of a continuing battle for real equality.
-- Jan Nielsen Socialist Worker
One woman can refuse to pay taxes. A dozen can issue a manifesto. But it takes a multitude to mount a parade. Susan Ware’s lively and delightful book zooms in on the faces in the crowd to help us understand both the depth and the diversity of the women’s suffrage movement. Some women went to jail. Others climbed mountains. Visual artists, dancers, and journalists all played a part. Suffragists tangled with each other as well as with opponents. Far from perfect, they used their own abilities, defects, and opportunities to build a movement that still resonates today.
-- Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, author of Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History
This entertaining and lively history of the women’s suffrage movement is full of surprises, featuring accounts of people and events that are not well known and highlighting women from minority groups and from regions other than the Northeast. What a fresh take on the traditional narrative that begins with Seneca Falls and ends with the victory in 1920. I found myself looking forward to each new section.
-- Marjorie J. Spruill, author of One Woman, One Vote: Rediscovering the Woman’s Suffrage Movement
Susan Ware’s book should be required reading for anyone who cares about our democracy and has forgotten how hard women had to fight for their right to participate in building a better future. She reminds us how far we’ve come—and how far we have yet to go.
-- Tanya Selvaratnam, author of The Big Lie
An endlessly readable ode to lesser-known—but equally important—women from a variety of backgrounds, all dedicated to the cause of women’s suffrage…Ware is intentional in naming the racism of white suffragists and not backing away from shining a long-overdue light on the imperfections and inequities of the movement…While meticulously researched to satisfy the most seasoned suffrage scholar, the book is written most prominently for the enjoyment of armchair historians.
-- Karla J. Strand Canadian Journal of History
A wonderful use of material history, which students will find engaging and entertaining…A thoroughly researched and fascinating read on a diverse suffrage movement that will help spur interest in the movement well after the Anthony Amendment’s centennial.
-- Rachel Gunter H-Net Reviews
Moving, inspiring, and empowering, this is a testament to political action, the bond between women, and the power of raising your voice.
-- A Mighty Girl
In this history of women’s suffrage, Ware spends time with the individuals who never received recognition for their efforts in the cause…Ware explores the thousands of ways that the idea of universal suffrage circulated and identifies who allowed it to circulate. We see minds changing, which would eventually lead to laws changing too.
-- Gal Beckerman The Atlantic
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Prologue: A Walk through Suffrage History
Part One. Claiming Citizenship
1. The Trial of Susan B. Anthony and the “Rochester Fifteen"
2. Sojourner Truth Speaks Truth to Power
3. Sister-Wives and Suffragists
4. Alice Stone Blackwell and the Armenian Crisis of the 1890s
5. Charlotte Perkins Gilman Finds Her Voice
Part Two. The Personal Is Political
6. The Shadow of the Confederacy
7. Ida Wells-Barnett and the Alpha Suffrage Club
8. Two Sisters
9. Claiborne Catlin’s Suffrage Pilgrimage
10. “How It Feels to Be the Husband of a Suffragette"
11. The Farmer-Suffragettes
12. Suffragists Abroad
Part Three. Winning Strategies
13. Mountaineering for Suffrage
14. Hazel MacKaye and the “Allegory” of Woman Suffrage
15. “Bread and Roses” and Votes for Women Too
16. Cartooning with a Feminist Twist
17. Jailed for Freedom
18. Maud Wood Park and the Front Door Lobby
19. Tennessee’s “Perfect 36"
Epilogue: “Leaving All to Younger Hands"