Amanda C. Burdan
Music Credit: “NY” composed and performed by Kosta T from the cd Soul Sand, used courtesy of the Free Music Archive.
Amanda Burdan: What I learned was looking in the usual places was only bringing me the usual answers, right? So, one needed to dig in those others places. You couldn't just look up suffrage in a card catalog, because you were only going to get the mainstream narrative…African-American women have such a strong history of organization that it was just a message that was being lost in the broader suffrage narrative.
Jo Reed: That is Amanda C. Burdan Curator of the Brandywine River Museum and its current exhibition, “Votes for Women: A Visual History.”
And this is Art Works the weekly podcast produced by the National Endowment for the Arts—I’m Josephine Reed.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment—which gave women access to the ballot. But that’s a misstatement: nobody gave these women anything. They fought long and hard for 72 years and won that political struggle for the majority of women. “Votes for Women” shines a spotlight on that movement with over 200 hundred objects including drawings, illustrations, and posters from museums, historical societies, and private collections as well as historic photographs of marches and rallies, and examples of the costumes, clothing, and sashes worn by suffragists. The result is an immersion in the breadth and depth of the movement, and a visualization of the complex political messages conveyed by suffragists. It’s clear what they sacrificed by demanding the vote so relentlessly and equally clear how fiercely men guarded the privilege of the franchise.
“Votes for Women” works against what had been a dominant narrative: that the suffrage movement was mainly white. It recognizes both the critical efforts of women of color and their community networks and the inability of the 19th Amendment to guarantee access to the ballot to women of color primarily—but not exclusively-- in the Jim Crow south.
An exhibit with this historical breadth was obviously a big undertaking, so when I spoke with curator Amanda Burdan…I was curious how she got her arms around it…why she chose as her focus a visual history of the suffrage movement
Amanda Burdan: Well, as an art historian and working as a curator in an art museum, much of what I do every day is involved with how people process their world and the arts of the past through visual material. And, so, we've long been working on teaching visual literacy and visual communication with works of art. And it just seemed to me that the storytelling, that works of art, or that the visual world and visual culture could bring, were absolutely used by especially the late phases of the American Suffrage Movement. And their visual material that got left behind in the history hasn't much been really dealt with or treated yet.
The Suffrage Movement went on for 72 years and you do focus primarily on the 20th century. Is that why? Because there is such a vast array of material?
Amanda Burdan: Yes, yes. And there are a couple of different reasons for this. One is that printing technologies were much improved by the early twentieth century and allowed for cheaper, easier, faster color printing so that these brochures and fliers and handbills could all be distributed. But then, also, it's because, I believe, a younger generation of suffragists, the group of Alice Paul and her generation, had joined and they were really skilled at the visual marketing or the promotion of suffrage, not just through speeches and literature, but through what we talk about in the exhibition is the spectacle of suffrage. What it looked like and how that could be impacted in the overall suffrage fight.
Jo Reed: Well, yes, I love the idea of the spectacle of suffrage, because part of that campaign was making themselves and their goal visible. But I'd like you, if you don't mind, to take us back a little bit, because back then that was quite radical thinking.
Amanda Burdan: Absolutely. And I think about this in a lot of ways, the lessons learned from the Suffrage Movement really apply to all kinds of social activism. It's when anyone feels invisible in their world and society and culture that lots of things are done to make themselves-- make their voices heard. It's something we often say-- or make themselves visible. And, so, this first generation of really visible material in the Suffrage Movement was making the invisible woman feel more visible and be, literally, more visible to culture.
You wrote, "Women are supposed to be in the newspaper twice: when they're married and when they die."
Amanda Burdan: That's right. Yeah.
Jo Reed: And here are women putting themselves forward and very ferociously.
Amanda Burdan: Yeah. And that was one of the key anti-suffrage arguments, actually, is that women should not be heard, should not be seen. They shouldn't be on a public stage and subject themselves to public scrutiny. And, so, everything that the Suffrage Movement was working on was against that ideal.
They were certainly ridiculed by many cartoonist, and I think it's really exemplified in a cartoon by Joseph Keppler
Jo Reed: I’m referring to the multi-paneled cartoon and I’d like you to describe a couple of the panels.
Amanda Burdan: So, the Joseph Keppler piece you're talking about is actually from Puck Magazine. And that was the leading humor magazine of the day. So, you have to understand the context was to make people laugh and point out these, you know, comical aspects of society, not really to make deep political statements. However, this one particular illustration has a central image and then is surrounded by vignettes that really offer the reasons, comically, why women should not be allowed to vote. And one of the primary concerns is how the American household would fall apart if women turned their attention to what was called "electioneering": you know, being out in public, working for a political candidate-- for God's sakes, even running for political office maybe!
Jo Reed: <gasps>
Amanda Burdan: I know! Clutch your pearls! But, you know, in the cartoon, women are depicted as very manly. They're wearing suits. They're growing beards with whisker grease. And the idea that the family was in peril is communicated by this and that is a key argument throughout. There's an illustrator in the exhibition, Rose O'Neill, who really takes as her focus explaining visually why women who want to have better family dynamics and safer, healthy environments for their children should have the right to vote.
Right. Keppler portrayed this scene of complete domestic bliss, from a male perspective. A husband and wife seated at a table; he's reading the paper, she's beautifully dressed with her lovely, quiet child on her knee; and then, on the other side of the cartoon, you have the home of a suffragist: she’s absent, her husband is in charge of six kids who are all over the place, shrieking, and everything's a mess.
Amanda Burdan: I know. And I particularly love that the caption for that domestic idle that you mentioned is called "Nevermore." So, it's something that is now in the region of, I don't know, science fiction.
Jo Reed: Exactly. The suffragists laid the foundation for social change movements in the future, as you said. And we probably see this most particularly in the section of the exhibition called "Deeds, Not Words". That’s where we see the parade of 1913; will you give us the backstory?
Amanda Burdan: Yeah, so, the parade of 1913 is an amazingly visible political event that women, particularly the National Woman's Party, Alice Paul, Lucy Burns, and that group, organized in 1913 to coincide with the inauguration of Woodrow Wilson. I mean, we've been talking about this for years. Inauguration weekend women's marches are not a new thing. And, so, in 1913, when they organized this, other than demonstrations of some labor groups, this was really the very first socially motivated parade of this sort to take place on such a public and national scale. The women took their place marching down Pennsylvania Avenue, especially to draw attention from this big crowd that would have been there to see the inauguration and to make their cause known. Now, of course, as you learn in the exhibition or if you read histories, the parade was overtaken by an angry mob, who was just rioting around them. And women were injured, they were spat upon, they were called names. The whole thing sort of fell apart before they could reach their final conclusion. At the end of the march, they were to go to the DAR Hall. And instead of having it be a kind of a-- well, they turned this tragedy into a triumph, let's say, because Alice Paul, with this marketing genius that she had, decided that all these women who had just experienced firsthand the violence against women, men who were vehemently opposed to women's suffrage, with lots of news photography going on at the same time, would take the time to write letters at the end of the parade. She gathered them together and she charged them with writing letters home to their own hometown newspapers, so that the story of what had happened there in Washington, D.C., would make headlines and would come across country-wide. So, that parade started out as a celebration, started as looking for this attention to the cause, and really got out of control in the midst of it, but then came around to be such a powerful attention-getter and statement on behalf of the women who were only asking for their rights as citizens.
Jo Reed: And the other thing that became very apparent during the parade is the segregation within the Suffrage Movement. It was apparent before then, but here we have physical manifestations of that. And there was Ida Wells-Barnett, for example, who had wanted to march with the Illinois contingent and then what happened?
Amanda Burdan: Well, she was told that she could not. The organizers of the parade said that they would not host an integrated parade and that she would need to march with an African-American group. And she would not have that. She chose instead-- and she stepped right off into the midst of the parade and joined her fellow suffragists from Illinois, where she was living at the time, and there's a photograph that was published in the Chicago Tribune of Ida B. Wells standing with the Chicago-- with the Illinois delegation. And that's such a historic document that has literally been lost over time. We have the newspaper and the reprint, but the original photograph can't be found.
But it is a famous photo.
Amanda Burdan: Absolutely.
Jo Reed: And you also had marching at that parade the sorority Delta Sigma Theta. Tell us about them.
Amanda Burdan: Yes, Delta Sigma Theta sorority-- and this is something that I learned about. I was not part of any Greek organization in my life. I didn't know much about it, except for in the past few years realizing how intregal the sororities and fraternities were in celebrations of Juneteenth. And, so, black sororities were one of the places that I looked for information and for research materials. And, of course, it didn't take long to figure out that Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated was there from the beginning. They were a Howard University organization that was the second African-American sorority in the country. They had actually peeled off from another sorority, because they wanted to be more socially involved. And their very first event that they held as a group was to go to this march in Washington, D.C., and march with other college organizations as Howard University's Delta Sigma Theta group. And, so, I've traced a little bit of the histories of some of the women in that group and it's not a hidden history. Members of Delta Sigma Theta sorority all know these women's names. But it's not mainstream history yet.
Jo Reed: Well, that's exactly where I want to go, because suffragists really did not want to bring race into the conversation about women's suffrage. There's often a misconception that black women and women of color were not involved with the fight for the vote.
Amanda Burdan: Absolutely. And that is-- couldn't be further from the truth. It's one of the reasons why when people were criticizing five- six years ago, this upcoming celebration of the Suffrage Centennial. It was because people have come to know the movement; it wasn't inclusive. It was not representative of all women. And it's easy to misconceive the movement as something that was only undertaken by white women, white middle-class women more specifically. But once you do delve into the history, there are so many different women from different backgrounds, different races, different income levels, different classes that are involved, each in their own way. And it's about the history that has been written and been pushed forth that really colors it as an all white movement. And, so, adding the stories of Delta Sigma Theta and of the 1913 march, you know, Mary Church Terrell, who was also incredibly important as an African-American organizer, was writing in support of the Delta Sigma Theta group and helped to make their appearance there possible to convince the organizers that this would be good for the movement.
Right. And the Black Women's Club Movement that Mary Church Terrell was instrumental in, was crucial to women getting the vote.
Amanda Burdan: Absolutely. It's one of the things that I learned. I'm an art historian doing a little more 'history' than I usually do with this project, but what I learned was looking in the usual places was only bringing me the usual answers, right? So, one needed to dig in those others places. You couldn't just look up suffrage in a card catalog, because you were only going to get the mainstream narrative. But once I realized that I should be looking for these branches of the National Association of Colored Women, I should be looking for religious organizations, I should be looking for fraternities and sororities, I should be looking for other social and benevolent organizations that were organizing women. African-American women have such a strong history of organization that it was just a message that was being lost in the broader suffrage narrative.
You also had a mural commissioned called "Hidden Figures of the Suffrage Movement". Can you walk me through this and what your thinking was and how you chose the women who were depicted?
Amanda Burdan: Sure. That mural was partly the offshoot of the idea that there was-- we had a lack-- I, in my exhibition; I think, historically, in general-- had a lack of the visual material that related to women of color, that related to, let's say, other marginalized groups, because we do include working class women in this as well. That the physical, visual documents that I was seeing elsewhere-- you know, the newspaper services that were photographing white women marching in their towns and cities across the country weren't photographing Hispanic women asking for the vote in Texas. You know, they weren't out there documenting that. But the wall-- or the mural that we commissioned, I wanted to supplement the visual history that was lacking by asking five illustrators, five women illustrators of very diverse backgrounds, experiences, ages, to help contribute and visualize for contemporary audiences and make these faces familiar in the way that some of the other images of suffrage were familiar. So, the process had to do with selecting-- oh, my goodness-- selecting just 14 that we could fit on the wall! But one of our-- I had a summer research associate who helped with this project. And she started with Rosalyn Terborg-Penn's book, which is a history of African-American women suffragists. That was from the 1970s, I believe, but Rosalyn Terborg-Penn only just recently passed away while we were working on this project. So, we started reading these hundred or so biographies of African-American women and trying to select. So, our selections kind of ranged. We wanted local stories, we wanted national stories, and even an international story or two to help explain that it wasn't just in one town or it wasn't just urban women or something like that that were involved. So, I wanted to get a broad range.
Jo Reed: And, well, let's talk about some of the women specifically And I'd love to begin with Alice Dunbar Nelson.
Amanda Burdan: She is one of my most exciting discoveries for me. Now, other historians who are-- or historians of this period, who are literary historians, they will have known Alice Dunbar Nelson's name. But I was able to-- I was introduced to her and I learned that the University of Delaware, which is very nearby to our museum, had a collection of Alice Dunbar Nelson's papers. And I went to the archives to see them firsthand and one of the scrapbooks-- and scrapbooks are such an important visual record that women left behind of their own lives, of their own causes and suffrage in particular. So, to have a suffrage scrapbook by Alice Dunbar Nelson, where she collected these visual documents of her involvement with the Suffrage Movement was spectacular. It's the first place-- it's the only place I've seen firsthand and been able to lay my hands on handbills that were directed at the African-American community inviting women to come to a rally or a lecture or to hear a speaker and use some images like Abraham Lincoln and the log cabin to entice an African-American audience to pay more attention to the Suffrage Movement.
Well, speaking of that, what about Lottie Wilson?
Amanda Burdan: Lottie Wilson is a personal favorite, because she is a visual artist and, while so many of the others on this mural or in the history of suffrage are renowned for many different things, because we're an art museum and I study American women artists, this was just a triumph to find not only that Lottie Wilson existed, she was the very first African-American student at the Art Institute of Chicago and she made a career of portrait painting well before any African-American women had really made a name for themselves in the United States in the field of visual arts. And Lottie Wilson, Charlotte or Lottie, as she's called, was also a very active suffragist. She attended suffrage meetings. She argued in favor of African-American women with Susan B. Anthony about issues of race, like, African-American women being able to take a seat on trains and not having segregated train service. But she was also an artist. And one of the great paintings that she did in her life was an image of Abraham Lincoln and Sojourner Truth and it was displayed in Theodore Roosevelt's White House; so, the administration just before Woodrow Wilson. So, she was out there on the forefront before the Wilson campaign, before the 1913 march. And she used her voice and her artwork to lift up African-American figures and women. And suffrage was one of the main reasons why she is now in the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame.
Jo Reed: There’s a Native American of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Tribe, Marie Louise Bottineau Baldwin. She was a revelation to me.
Amanda Burdan: Yes. You know, I was so surprised that she worked for the government. She was the first woman of color to graduate as an attorney from the Washington College of Law in 1913. That put her right in Washington, D.C., in 1913 and during that parade period. And she specifically chose to wear her native dress for her government photographs, for her government ID photographs. So, she's not someone that was in any way downplaying her Native heritage, her indigenous status. And, like many Native American women who were involved in the Suffrage Movement, there was that dual problem of wanting to exercise their right to vote, but also that problem of citizenship, which had not been granted to all Native Americans. And, so, when white women, for instance were saying that that was their right as a citizen, Native Americans were still aiming to get that citizenship in order to be able to vote. So, she was selected, again, by Theodore Roosevelt-- so, it was a more progressive towards women, towards suffrage administration at the end of his administration-- appointed her as a clerk in the Office of Indian Affairs. So, she was like some of the African-American women we talked about, already deeply involved in the organization of women and of her fellow Native Americans that just flowed naturally into the Suffrage Movement.
You know, this is related. I'm just curious about how as more and more people, more and more administrators, more and more curators, more and more academicians are seeing the benefits of inclusion, that longing to see a fuller picture, how it's changing research practices at various institutions.
Amanda Burdan: Oh, absolutely. I mean, I did-- because I was so surprised by the ways I was changing-- using and changing my research practices, I did a three-part lecture which we put online that showed-- just demonstrated the various websites and resources that I turn to and the kinds of collections that were useful for this sort of research, for suffrage research, as opposed to, you know, in my field more traditional art historical research. And I think digitization-- I mean, this is all happening today, of course, but I feel really strongly that digitization of these documents that are so rare that they're so rarely seen, that people don't know about, that you search for and because of the way they're categorized or cataloged, you don't find them, this whole field of-- I just heard a program in which they were talking about the hope for history and there is all sorts of hope for history, because we realize it was a very narrow view of history that has been thus recorded and discussed and considered. So, as we become more inclusive and include documents and people that had not been included, every field in history, suffrage included, is growing and expanding in really contemporary ways.
Jo Reed: Yeah, exactly. To return to Alice Paul for a moment, as you noted, she's somebody who understood the power of media so well. She did many powerful things to call attention to the suffrage movement, but one was the Silent Sentinels. And I'd like you to really tell us that story.
Amanda Burdan: Yes, the Silent Sentinels is so powerful and moving. And, especially in the summer of 2020 here, there are so many more parallels than there were as I was planning this exhibition. So, the Silent Sentinel protest were a demonstration, was devised by the National Women's Party, led by Alice Paul in 1917. It was a specific protest to the president, Woodrow Wilson at the time. By then, he's in his second term, and it was to have women march daily from the headquarters of the National Women's Party to the White House and stand silently. You know, that's a key. They were silent. They weren't shouting. They weren't making speeches. They weren't chanting. They just held signs that asked the president to consider women's suffrage to really think about how he was dealing with democracy overseas during World War I, and think about how democracy at home was really playing out. And, so, women stood all day long, mostly six days a week, for more than a year in front of the White House with these signs. And it wasn't just to Woodrow Wilson; it was signs asking, "What will you do for women's suffrage?" that could be seen by anyone who came to visit the president. So, anyone who was important in Washington, D.C., would have seen this.
I just want a moment, just a pause, because the fact that this continued for over a year is extraordinary.
Amanda Burdan: And they were working very hard to get the protest staffed. There would be days, like, Pennsylvania Day or College Women's Day. Mary Church Terrell and her daughter protested in front of the White House. There is a long list of names who were involved in this and it was really the most radical thing that could be done because they were called into question. Their patriotism was called into question, because they were protesting the American president under the conditions of World War I. So, there's another intersection as well. And, you know, as this became more of an irritant to the president and to the administration, it was determined that they had to be forced to stop, but they were literally doing nothing wrong. So, the charges that were brought against them when the police broke up their demonstration was obstructing traffic or obstructing the sidewalk. And these women became political prisoners then. They were literally jailed for their political beliefs that women should have the right to vote. And Alice Paul was the leader in that, because she and her cohort Lucy Burns had been part of the British Suffrage Movement, which had done also radical things, even more militant than the United States women. And they had been jailed in England. So, they sort of knew the playbook on political prisoners, right? They knew that they needed to go to jail rather than paying their fines. They knew they needed to continue to agitate from the jailhouse. They held hunger strikes. And information was channeled outwards to the press; little notes were slipped out about the conditions. And there was even a day when the press was allowed to come in and photograph the women in their jail cells. So, even at that-- almost what might seem a hopeless moment as women have been jailed, Alice Paul is turning it into a marketing campaign, right, a media campaign. And the good news is, eventually, the administration, President Wilson, did relent and granted clemency to these women who had been in jail. And they were freed. That was in November of 1917. Lucy Burns served the longest term at seven months in prison for political protest. And she was in prison multiple times. So, it became kind of a badge of honor among the suffragists for those who had participated in that silent campaign, which also included the burning of Woodrow Wilson's speeches in Lafayette Park. And, now, in the Summer of 2020, we all know exactly what and where Lafayette Park is, right across from the White House. And they burned the president's speeches there. And this-- it turned into a very powerful media campaign when the pressure of the public came to Wilson and his administration and said, "These women are on hunger strikes. They can barely stand. They're sick. This is how you treat women?"
Jo Reed: And they're being forcibly fed when they refuse to eat!
Amanda Burdan: Yes! We're talking about funnels and rubber hoses and raw eggs being forced down throats. It was not-- it was absolute-- or through the nose as Lucy Burns was fed. And, so, it was literal torture. And the thing was the women were threatened. Alice Paul was threatened that if she refused to eat, then she must have a psychiatric condition, that she must be treated for her psychiatric condition and therefore force-fed. And, so, it was, like, I'd say, a double-edged sword, but it's like a triple-edged sword no matter what. But, in the end, the public pressure really caused Wilson to release women from jail. They continued protesting then, too! It went on. And-- but, really, it was just a few months after the release from prison of those Silent Sentinels protestors that Wilson made his first public statement on suffrage. So, the public pressure brought on by this media campaign really forced the president to do something, to make some movement. He had been silent up until then.
You said in one of the videos that one can find online about the exhibition that you loved maps. And so do I. And, by looking at these maps, one of the things that I really learned this year is how many millions of women had access to the ballot before the 19th Amendment.
Amanda Burdan: Yes, and how women of the West were enfranchised far before the women of the East. Wyoming was the first. Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, California. These women all had the vote earlier than women, say, in Pennsylvania or New York. And, so, that just is an incredible, you know, problem of equity on top of it. If women of Wyoming are allowed to vote, why am I not allowed to vote? And I think maps do a great service to understanding the movement, that the literal passage through the country of the suffrage-- both the suffrage campaign and then later the suffrage amendment fight also used those same maps to convey the number of states needed or left to pass the 19th Amendment. So, the maps also have a way of reminding us just how big this country is to think about a campaign being waged thousands of miles across the country, all by a central organization, starting in the 19th century. I mean, it's just amazing. And the women that went on these campaigns, they're driving their own cars across a country that has no road system yet. So, the maps play in the transmission of the Suffrage Movement as well as that ever-important tally of suffrage states.
Jo Reed: Well, and, conversely, the maps also really indicate how after the 19th Amendment millions of women were still unable to vote. Women of color certainly won access to the ballot box in a very piecemeal way. And you explore part of that story in a sister exhibition called "Witness to History" and tell us what we would see in that exhibit.
Amanda Burdan: "Witness to History" is a group of 55 photographs taken by a college student named Stephen Somerstein on March 25th, 1965. And that's an important date in history, because it was the final day of the Selma-to-Montgomery marches in Alabama. It was the day that that march, which had tried three times to reach the state capitol, finally made its way to completion and a host of important dignitaries led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made a speech-- made speeches. And the whole point of that march, of that campaign, of those photographs, is to agitate for the vote for African-Americans in the South, African-Americans across the country, but particularly in the Jim Crow South where restrictions like poll taxes and literacy tests and registration obstruction had been and were going on. So, this march was really in support of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. And it actually passed through Congress during this period in March 1965 that these marches were taking place. So, on that final day, these photographs by a college student who had come from the City University in New York down on a bus when Dr. King had called for leaders, for participants, whether it was clerical leaders or students to come from all over the country. And a group from City College went down and Stephen Somerstein was covering it for his school newspaper. And he printed several of the images in the next week's paper about the march and the students who had been there, and then he put them away for decades-- 50 years! And, so, they were-- while there are photographs of that march and the SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, had their own photographers there, this was a view that hadn't-- these were new photographs, really, that hadn't been seen. And a few preliminary exhibitions took place in 2015. I believe New York Historical Society showed some. So, it just seemed absolutely imperative to not end the suffrage story with 1920 and the 19th Amendment, but that it had to shed light on the way that the 19th and the 15th Amendment didn't really get the vote to everyone in this country in the way that had been envisioned. So, it was very important to me to have some kind of companion exhibition that would let viewers know that this struggle did not end in 1920.
What conversations are these two exhibitions having with one another?
Amanda Burdan: You know, I think primarily what I see between the two exhibitions, what I learned looking at these images, was just how young this movement was. Alice Paul is 24 or 25. John Lewis is 24 or 25. It is a youth movement in each of these cases and I wasn't expecting that. In fact, I was sort of expecting some of the visual imagery of the Women's Suffrage Movement to be driven by the images of the esteemed foremothers of the movement. And they're certainly there! But when you see the photographs, you realize they're just-- they're babies. And I hoped, you know, pre-pandemic, pre-George Floyd, when we were putting this together, I had hoped that this would be catalytic to have younger people realize how important they are in social and political movements. Even if all they do is vote, that's something huge.
Jo Reed: And, finally, what surprised you the most in putting this together?
Amanda Burdan: I think the surprises, for me, you know, other than the fact that how very young these people in the movement were, one of the others was the depth of the material that just hasn't been completely tapped into yet. So, as a researcher and as a historian, I'm learning even after the exhibition is up of local historical societies or cemeteries of African-American figures that have preserved stories that are just waiting to be told, that are just-- you know, we have by no means exhausted the history of the Suffrage Movement and the history of voting rights in understanding it.
Amanda, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.
Amanda Burdan: Great to talk to you.
Many women won a political victory 100 years ago with the passage of the 19th amendment which declares that the right of citizens to vote "shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.". The Brandywine Museum of Art is commemorating its passage and the long struggle leading to it with the exhibit Votes for Women: A Visual History funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. Votes for Women shines a spotlight on the movement with over 200 hundred objects including drawings, illustrations as well as historic photographs of marches and rallies and examples of clothing and sashes worn by the suffragists. Significantly, Votes for Women works against what had been a dominant narrative: that the suffrage movement had been mainly white. It recognizes both the critical efforts of women of color and their community networks and the inability of the 19th to guarantee access to the ballot to women of color—primarily but not exclusively in the Jim Crow south. A companion exhibition Witness to History ”continues the story of the ongoing struggles marginalized communities faced when voting following the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment” featuring 55 photographs taken during the historic 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery. Curator Amanda Burdan talks about creating an inclusive exhibit about suffrage, its challenges and rewards, as well as the determination, political sophistication and publicity savvy of the suffragists.