Eureka School hosts conference on African-American women and 19th amendment

Eureka School hosts conference on African-American women and 19th amendment
Eureka School hosts "100 Years: African-American Women in the Suffrage Movement" Friday. (Source: WDAM)

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Dozens of people gathered in Hattiesburg Friday to learn more about the contributions of African-Americans to the women’s suffrage movement.

A conference at Eureka School, “100 Years and Counting: African-American Women in the Suffrage Movement,” was hosted by the Sixth Street Museum District, the University of Southern Mississippi and the city of Hattiesburg.

It featured panel discussions and other activities focusing on the role of African-American women in the passage of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote.

This year is the 100th anniversary of that amendment.

“In every movement that has taken place in the United States of America, African-Americans have been a part of that, but sometimes, that history is just not written and it’s not taught,” said Sheila Varnado, a member of the 19th Amendment Centennial Committee.

“We have African-American abolitionists, then also being active in the women’s rights movement in the antebellum period and that just carried over into the ratification of the 19th amendment in the 20th century,” said Sherita L. Johnson, an associate professor of English and director of the Center for Black Studies at the University of Southern Mississippi.

“[The suffrage movement for African-American women] was a lot different and a lot more challenging and we wanted to be respectful and mindful of that and inform the community that might not know all the different African-American women that played a part and how their struggles were different and it took a lot longer than 1920 for full suffrage,” said Anna Rush, chair of the 19th Amendment Centennial Committee.

Other events in Hattiesburg celebrating the centennial of the 19th amendment are scheduled through August.

Copyright 2020 WDAM. All rights reserved.