The 19th Amendment to the US Constitution extended the vote to American women in 1920. Its passage served as the crowning achievement of a decades-long struggle by women across the nation to be part of the democratic process. Although divided by race, class, and political strategy, Black and white women in New Orleans played a significant role in the women’s suffrage movement.
Yet the story of women’s voting rights in New Orleans does not end in 1920. The federal amendment granted all women the right to vote, but Louisiana laws effectively disenfranchised Black women. As many white women began going to the polls and increasing their political participation in segregation-era New Orleans, African American women continued to fight for access to the ballot. From paying their poll taxes to organizing voter registration drives, Black women challenged their status as second-class citizens up to and through the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Expanding on a 2020 virtual exhibition on THNOC’s website, the exhibition “Yet She Is Advancing”: New Orleans Women and the Right to Vote, 1878–1970, tells a decades-long story through objects, images, documents, and interactive displays—and through the words of the New Orleans women who for nearly 100 years persisted in their struggle to obtain the vote.
Through their determination, they advanced our nation’s democratic ideals and inspired future generations of political activists.
Yet She Is Advancing is sponsored by WDSU-TV and presented in collaboration with the Tate, Etienne & Prevost (TEP) Interpretive Center and the League of Women Voters New Orleans.
A free history museum in the heart of the French Quarter offering exhibitions on the culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South. On-site museum shop and café reflect creativity and diversity of community and its past....