Books: Non-Fiction

Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All

Book — Non-fiction. By Martha S. Jones. 2020. 352 pp.
This book excavates the lives and work of Black women from the earliest days of the republic to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and beyond.

Time Periods: All US History
Themes: Voting Rights, African American, Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship, Women's History

VanguardIn the standard story, the suffrage crusade began in Seneca Falls in 1848 and ended with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. But this overwhelmingly white women’s movement did not win the vote for most Black women. Securing their rights required a movement of their own.

In Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All, acclaimed historian Martha S. Jones offers a new history of African American women’s political lives in the United States. She recounts how they defied both racism and sexism to fight for the ballot, and how they wielded political power to secure the equality and dignity of all persons.

From the earliest days of the republic to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and beyond, Jones excavates the lives and work of Black women — Maria Stewart, Mary Ann Shadd Cary, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Fannie Lou Hamer, Stacey Abrams, and more — who were the vanguard of the fight for women’s rights. [Publisher’s description.]

Reviews

Martha Jones is the political historian of African American women. And this book is the commanding history of the remarkable struggle of African American women for political power. The more power they accumulated, the more equality they wrought. All Americans would be better off learning this history and grasping just how much we owe equality’s vanguard.―Ibram X. Kendi, author of Stamped from the Beginning

Bold, ambitious, and beautifully crafted, Vanguard represents more than two hundred years of Black women’s political history. From Jarena Lee to Stacey Abrams, Martha S. Jones reminds her readers that Black women stand as America’s original feminists — women who continue to remind America that it must make good on its promises. ―Erica Armstrong Dunbar, author of Never Caught and She Came to Slay

ISBN: 9781541618619 | Published by Basic Books

Share a story, question, or resource from your classroom.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *