Toward a Universal
Suffrage Exhibit Available
A new exhibit documenting the contributions of African
American women to the suffrage movement in Iowa is now available for display in
museums,public libraries, and other organizations and events statewide.
A product of a collaboration between the Iowa Department of
Human Rights’ Office on the Status of Women, the Central Iowa Community Museum,
and the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State
University, Toward a Universal Suffrage:
African American Women in Iowa and the Vote for All, highlights the
contributions of African American in Iowa to the suffrage movement.
“Over the last several years, we have been working with
partners across the state to put this exhibit together using primary source documentation. Thanks to the
hard work and passion of all of our collaborators, we hope this exhibit will add to the
discussion around voting rights for women in the state of Iowa and throughout the nation,” said Kristen Corey of
the Iowa Department of Human Rights’ Office on the Status of Women.
This year marks the centennial of the ratification of the 19th
Amendment to the Constitution, which guaranteed women suffrage, or the right to
vote. About a half million African American women lived in states that did not
restrict voting rights to African Americans and were enfranchised in 1920,
including African American women living in Iowa.
“Part of the mission of the Central Iowa Community Museum is
to engage people in inclusive dialogues and to advocate for an increase in our
democracy,” said Eric Morse, founding director of the Community Museum. “Toward A Universal Suffrage celebrates
African American women’s contributions to the suffrage movement and reminds us
that access to the ballot remains as important today as it was in 1920.”
African American women played a crucial role in this
struggle, advocating for women’s suffrage along with civil rights, the end to
lynching, and other forms of systemized discrimination. Among these activists
in Iowa were Gertrude Rush, Sue M. Wilson Brown, Helen Downey, and Vivian B.
The Carrie Chapman Catt Center is honored to be a part of
this exciting project and to help recognize the work of these talented,
passionate Iowans,” said Karen Kedrowski, Director of the Catt Center.
The exhibition schedule and a portal
to request hosting this exhibit can be found on the Central
Iowa Community Museum website.
Funding for Toward A Universal Suffrage is provided by the Iowa State
University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Humanities Iowa, the National
Endowment for the Humanities, and the Chrysalis Foundation.