Format Hardcover
Publication Date 08/09/22
ISBN 9781639361892
Trim Size / Pages 6 x 9 in / 416

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American Women and the Fight for Equality: 1920-2020

Elisabeth Griffith

“An essential history of the struggle by both Black and white women to achieve their equal rights.”—Hillary Rodham Clinton

The Nineteenth Amendment expanded American democracy by doubling the number of eligible voters, but it was an incomplete victory. It did not enfranchise all women nor even protect women who could vote. A century later, many of the issues in the Nineteenth Amendment still dominate public discourse: voting rights, racial violence, health care, working conditions, reproductive rights, and more.

Formidable chronicles the efforts of white and Black women to advance sometimes competing causes. White women wanted equal legal rights, political power, safeguards for working women and immigrants, and an end to confining social structures. Black women wanted to protect their communities from racial violence and discrimination. White women wanted to be equal to white men. Black women wanted the rights enjoyed by whites. Theirs was not only a women’s movement.

Dr. Elisabeth Griffith integrates the fight of both white and Black women to achieve equality in this sweeping and riveting narrative. Previously their parallel struggles for social justice have been presented separately, as white or Black topics, or else viewed through individuals, decades, or incidents, rather than from a longer view and a wider perspective.

We also meet a cast of women thoughtout this generations-long fight. From feminists, civil rights activists, politicians, social justice advocates, working class women, mothers and homemakers, radicals and conservatives, to those who were offended by feminism, threatened by social change, or convinced of white supremacy.

After winning in 1920, suffragists had a sense of optimism, declaring, “Now we can begin!” By 2020, a new generation knew they would have to begin again. By turns engaging and outraging, Formidable will propel readers to continue the fights of their foremothers to truly achieve equality for all.

Elisabeth Griffith earned her PhD from The American University and an undergraduate degree from Wellesley College.  She has been a Kennedy Fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics and a Klingenstein Fellow at Columbia Teachers College. She has written forThe New York Times, The Washington Post, and professional journals and is currently teaching courses in women’s history and is currently teaching at the Smithsonian Associates and at Politics & Prose. She is the author of In Her Own Right: The Life of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, which was the inspiration for Ken Burns’ PBS documentary, Not For Ourselves Alone.


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