Freedom: A History of US.
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Webisode 11: Safe For Democracy
Introduction Segment 1 Segment 2 Segment 3 Segment 4 Segment 5 Segment 6 Segment 7 Segment 8

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Women Voting
Segment 5
Page 2

The women keep marching. All kinds of women. Rich and poor women together See It Now - Suffragists with Banner. In response, President Wilson asks Congress to pass the Nineteenth Amendment See It Now - Signing the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. It reads, in part, "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex."

The fight for women's equality began in the nineteenth century when some dedicated women and a few intrepid men met at Seneca Falls in northern New York and changed the words of the Declaration of Independence to "all men and women are created equal." Now, all over the nation, women and men work to get the Nineteenth Amendment passed. Finally, only one state is needed to ratify and give women the right to vote. In Tennessee the state legislature is undecided. Harry Burn, who, at twenty-four, is the youngest representative, gets a letter from his mother. She is a strong supporter of Carrie Chapman Catt, head of the National American Woman Suffrage Association Check The Source - Freedom for Women. She writes, "Don't forget to be a good boy, Harry, and help Mrs. Catt put the "Rat" in ratification." Harry Burn follows his mother's advice. It is 1919, and Tennessee is the last state to ratify. The next year, 1920, America's women finally go to the polls See It Now - Women Voting.

Hardly anyone is fighting for equal rights for blacks. In the South, only rarely are they allowed to vote. Hundreds are lynched—and no one does anything about it. W. E. B. DuBois is a Harvard-educated scholar who will not keep quiet. He writes, Hear It Now - W. E. B. DuBois "All my life I have been painfully aware of the dichotomy between American freedom for whites and the continuing subjection of Negroes. We claim for ourselves every single right that belongs to a freeborn American; and until we get these rights we will never cease to protest." Blacks migrate from Southern fields to Northern factories. By 1920, nearly half a million blacks have left the South. But many face conditions nearly as bad as those they left behind See It Now - Poor Black Man.

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Did You Know?
If you were sick in 1920, you didn't go to a doctor's office. The doctor came to your house. He brought a black bag with him that was stuffed with medical supplies.

Did you know that Freedom is adapted from the award-winning Oxford University Press multi-volume book series, A History of US by Joy Hakim?

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