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Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote and Insisted on Equality for All

The epic history of African American women’s pursuit of political power–and how it transformed America. In the standard story, the suffrage crusade began in Seneca Falls in 1848 and ended with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. But this overwhelmingly white women’s movement did not win the vote for most black women. Securing their rights required a movement of their own. In Vanguard, acclaimed historian Martha S. Jones offers a new history of African American women’s political lives in America. She recounts how they defied both racism and sexism to fight for the ballot, and how they wielded political power to secure the equality and dignity of all persons. From the earliest days of the republic to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and beyond, Jones excavates the lives and work of black women–Maria Stewart, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Fannie Lou Hamer, and more–who were the vanguard of women’s rights, calling on America to realize its best ideals.

Meet the Author

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Martha S. Jones

Martha S. Jones is a legal and cultural historian whose work examines how Black Americans have shaped the history of democracy. She is the award-winning author of Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All (Basic Books,) Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America (Cambridge University Press,) and All Bound Up Together: The Woman Question in African American Public Culture, 1830-1900 (UNC Press.) Her work has been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, USA Today, Time, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland, where she is the Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professor and a Professor of History at The Johns Hopkins University.

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