With Hasak-Lowy, Zimet, a founding member of Votes for Women 2020, an organization dedicated to, in part, celebrating the 100th anniversary of American women’s right to vote, explores the decadeslong battle for suffrage and its many leaders.
Although the account begins rather typically with a profile of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and her burgeoning activism, it expands quickly, indicating how long women had been pushing for political freedom and how complicated their fight has been. Each chapter is its own contained lesson covering pivotal moments and key figures, extended by perfectly placed insets headed “Putting it in Perspective” or “Know Your Radicals.” The connection between suffrage and abolition is probed, as well as how racist attitudes—including among movement leaders—damaged the cause. The focus here is almost exclusively on white suffragists. The movement suffered schisms and lost momentum even as more states granted suffrage. The fight was reinvigorated with a new generation of activists such as Alice Paul and Lucy Burns, who picketed the White House, were jailed and beaten, went on hunger strikes, and employed other protest techniques that are used today. When the final fight for ratification of the 19th Amendment is recounted (supporters wore yellow roses; opponents, red), readers will be as anxious and invested as their forebears were.
Never melodramatic, this is a timely, eye-opening history. (foreword, introduction, epilogue, source notes, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)