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Suffrage parade, Washington, D.C.

[Detail] Suffrage parade, Washington, D.C.

The Struggle For Equality

Many social issues unified women in the 19th and 20th centuries. Notable advocates of suffrage were also outspoken leaders for racial equality. African American Perspectives, 1818-1907, a collection of 351 pamphlets, chronicles the fight for racial justice.

Search on Afro-American women and social conditions to better understand the issues of the day. You can also browse the Author Index to find the words of other women involved in the cause of equality, such as Frances Ellen Watkins Harper and Ida B. Wells-Barnett.

Through the years, American women have used their art to advocate social equality. Carl Van Vechten, arts critic and photographer, had a special interest in the Harlem Renaissance, a movement in which African Americans spoke out against racial injustice through their writing and art. Van Vechten Collection contains a number of photographs of these courageous artists.

Browse the Occupational Index to find artists from the period, including authors and singers, for example. You can also search the collection on specific names such as Zora Neale Hurston, Bessie Smith, and Marian Anderson.

Clare Booth Luce's play The Women was published in 1937. The popular play satirized both class and gender roles, and established Luce as an observant social critic. A scene description of the play can be found in Words and Deeds in American History, a collection celebrating the unique and rare holdings of the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress. Browse the Women's History section to find more items reflecting the experiences of American women.