The Texas Observer

How Texas Women Delivered the Nineteenth Amendment

IN THE DECADE LEADING UP TO 1920, SUFFRAGists in Texas won a series of dramatic victories for women’s voting rights. They organized to impeach a governor, convinced his replacement to partially enfranchise women by promising to support his reelection, and leveraged their new voting power to lobby crucial support for the Nineteenth Amendment—which prohibits denying citizens the right to vote on the basis of sex—in both the U.S. Congress and the Texas Capitol.

Despite their importance to the amendment’s eventual ratification 100 years ago this August, Texas’ suffragists remain relatively unknown. For suffragists of color, this is nothing new—their contributions were often ignored and erased even in their own lifetimes. But today, even Minnie Fisher Cunningham, the leader of the late-1910s legislative organizing charge who would go on to run for U.S. Senate and governor and co-found the Texas Observer in 1954, is nearly forgotten.

Texas was … an important tipping point in thebattle to secure federally guaranteed civil rights for women.

“[Cunningham] played a key role in ratification but never got much recognition in our

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