2019-2020

The 19th Amendment and the Politics of Race

US History/Literature/Political Science

“The 19th Amendment and the Politics of Race” uses an intersectional lens to uncover connections between the 19th Amendment of 1920 and the black freedom movements of the 1950s and 1960s, thus bringing into conversation two historical narratives that previously have been treated separately. My research finds that after the 19th Amendment was ratified a small but significant number of southern African Americans, women and men, voted and that their success, together with unceasing agitation by many who remained disfranchised, transformed not only the black freedom struggle but political parties, election procedures, and social movements on the right and the left.

Sample tasks to which a research partner might be assigned:

  • searching through archival collections at the Schlesinger Library to identify items of potential interest, and taking careful notes on designated items;
  • tracing known 1920 voters through the manuscript census and voting rolls;
  • quantitative analysis of census data files to estimate the extent of female disfranchisement after 1920.

Research partners will be assigned to tasks that suit their skills and interests. Among the background/interests/skill sets desired:

  • Major in US history, literature, or political science;
  • Experience in historical research in archival sources;
  • Interest in history of voting rights, African American women’s history, and/or civil rights history;
  • Familiarity with quantitative research methods a plus;
  • Willingness to read secondary sources to gain subject knowledge, to seek out help from librarians to complete research tasks, and to meet weekly to discuss findings;
  • Uncompromising research integrity.

Research partners will gain:

  • Advanced skills in archival research, including the use of Endnote and Tropy to organize documents and notes;
  • Insight into how historical questions are operationalized as research tasks and how book-length historical projects are organized.