Votes for Women

After generations of struggle for suffrage, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed in 1919 and ratified in August of 1920. To mark the centennial anniversary of women’s suffrage, the Smithsonian, Library of Congress, and National Archives collaborated to share this history with you on social media. The Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence exhibition featured more than 120 portraits and objects spanning 1832 to 1965 that explore the American suffrage movement. View selections from the exhibition on the Google Arts and Culture website.

Although the amendment declared that the right to vote cannot be denied on the basis of sex, it did not guarantee voting access. Citizenship laws, poll taxes, threats and violence barred African American, Latina, Native American, Asian American, immigrant, and poor women. Many African American women could not vote unimpeded until 1965 with the passage of the Voting Rights Act—long after the 19th Amendment went into effect. The National Museum of African American History and Culture shares five African American suffragists you should know to understand a broader history of the struggle for woman suffrage.

Because of Her Story