In 1892 Mamie Dillard, a Black temperance organizer from Lawrence, specifically connected the politics of reform to women’s suffrage when she gave credit to the WCTU (Women’s Christian Temperance Union) for influencing the passage of school suffrage legislation in several states.”  Dillard urged Black women to join the segregated Black temperance unions in pursuit of leadership opportunities.  This strategy was fruitful because by the turn of the century there were many “unions of colored women” which gave African American women the autonomy and leadership opportunities they wouldn’t have had otherwise in integrated temperance unions. [Terborg-Penn,  African American Women in the Struggle for the Vote, 1998 p6.]

There was also a strong tie between abolitionists and suffragists.  Abolitionist and temperance leader Sojourner Truth argued that giving black men the right to vote, and not black women,  promoted black men’s dominance.


To learn more about Mamie Dillard:

To learn more about Sojourner Truth: