Suffragette, a historical drama depicting the women's voting-rights movement in early 20th-century Britain, caused controversy for including the quote "I'd rather be a rebel than a slave" on T-shirts its white female cast wore in promotional materials.
Originally said by prominent British suffragist Emmeline Pankhurst (played by Meryl Streep), the quote whitewashes the movement's history of racism.
In the United States, the 15th Amendment to the Constitution gave black men (but not white women) the right to vote—at least in theory. In reality, however, many black Americans—particularly in Southern states—could not fully exercise that right until the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. And although the 19th Amendment technically gave all women the right to vote in 1920, black women's voting rights weren't protected; indeed, many were excluded from the suffragist movement.
To highlight the efforts of black suffragists, NTRSCTN has compiled the following list of women of color who fought on the front lines—even as their work continues to go unrecognized.