Liette Gidlow is an associate professor of history at Wayne State University, in Detroit, Michigan. She writes and teaches about post–Civil War US politics, gender, and race. Her recent research examines the grassroots efforts of African Americans to vote in the South after 1920.
At Radcliffe, Gidlow is drafting her next book, “The 19th Amendment and the Politics of Race, 1920–1970,” which explores connections between the woman suffrage amendment of 1920 and the African American freedom movements of the 1950s and 1960s. Part of the broader reassessment of the 19th Amendment at its centennial, this research finds that a small but significant number of southern African Americans voted after ratification and that their successes, 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.
Gidlow earned a PhD in history at Cornell University. She has published two books—The Big Vote: Gender, Consumer Culture, and the Politics of Exclusion, 1890s–1920s (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004) and Obama, Clinton, Palin: Making History in Election 2008 (University of Illinois Press, 2011)—and many articles. Her research has been cited in the New York Times and on the BBC, and she writes about voting rights and women’s politics for a variety of media outlets.