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Race and Women’s Suffrage in Arkansas

The history of suffrage in Arkansas has always been connected to race. For example, white women activists often used racial arguments to advocate for their own voting rights. At the same time, while African American women in Arkansas had supported the political struggles of the men in their community since Reconstruction as well as organizing for their own vote, they gained only limited access to the franchise with the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920. Kelly Houston Jones will explore the varied aspects of early-twentieth-century women’s politics, broadly defined, in relation to race and offer ways to understand the entangled history of race and suffrage in Arkansas.

Kelly Houston Jones is assistant professor of history at Arkansas Tech University. Her work has appeared in the journals Arkansas Historical Quarterly and Agricultural History, and in several edited volumes, including Arkansas Women: Their Lives and Times, edited by Cherisse Jones-Branch and Gary T. Edwards. Jones’s book A Weary Land: Slavery on the Ground in Arkansas is forthcoming from the University of Georgia Press.