Elias Wade Durand (American 1824-1908) The Birthplace of Asher B. Durand (detail), before 1854, Maplewood Memorial Library, Maplewood New Jersey, Gift of Louis Durand Morris
Note: The Durand-Hedden House, owned by Henry Durand, is the house in the background.


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Alice Paul, national chairman of the Woman's Party unfurled the ratification banner from suffrage headquarters in Washington, DC when Tennessee, the 36th state, ratified on August 18, 1920.
Library of Congress

American women won the right to vote only 100 years ago – and only after a struggle lasting more than 70 years. This exhibit explores the origins of women’s suffrage and modern feminism -- an outgrowth of women’s critical involvement in the anti-slavery movement before the Civil War. Both White and African American abolitionists saw the need to expand the push for freedom for Black people with a movement to enable all women to exercise their rights as citizens.

History has long overlooked the role of African American women in the fight for women’s suffrage. Both before and after the Civil War, Black women had to struggle not only with the entrenched sexism faced by white women, but also with racism. They met the challenge, engaging in political activism and significant reform efforts from the earliest years of the suffrage movement.

Some of the most prominent women’s suffrage activists lived in New Jersey, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton, one of the founders of the movement, Lucy Stone, Florence Spearing Randolph, and Alice Stokes Paul.

Click on the sections below to view the exhibit: