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159: Who Gets to Remember the 19th Amendment? with Prof. Martha S Jones

2020-08-25

I'm so honored to host Professor Martha S Jones, author and researcher at Johns Hopkins, to talk about the history of the 19th Amendment, and how the stories we tell ourselves about our families and our histories shape the way we move through the world. It's an important conversation to have - especially in this moment when we're remembering the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment to the US Constitution. If you're anything like me, you grew up believing that this amendment gave women the right to vote, but the truth is much more complicated. I hope you'll join Professor Jones and I as we dive into the legacy of Black suffragettes and the power each of us wield as guardians of our own stories.

If you enjoyed this conversation as much as I did then you MUST go follow Professor Jones on Instagram: instagram.com/marthasjones/ AND pre-order her latest book VANGUARD here -> https://bookshop.org/books/vanguard-how-black-women-broke-barriers-won-the-vote-and-insisted-on-equality-for-all/9781541618619

Remember listeners: your voice matters because YOU matter. You can check if you're registered to vote by searching your state online, or by clicking here -> https://www.vote.org/am-i-registered-to-vote/

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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Hey guys. I welcome to another episode of the podcast, I'm so grateful that you could join me- and I have to tell you that is one of my favorite views. I have done in a really long time. Partially because I am a super history nerd and I love learning about any kind of history, but also because I think this is incredibly important conversations have especially right now so Let me tell you where the idea for today's episode came from. I am aware, like maybe most of you, who are women in America, that August marks the one huh. Fourth anniversary of the Nineteenth amendment. Was the amendment that gave women the right to vote in America only. It didn't told So when I was a little girl, I was taught that there were the suffragettes like Susan
Anthony and Elizabeth Katy Stanton and they fought so hard and long and earned the right for every woman to vote and what I Understand now, is that the Nineteenth amendment actually had some very specific wording. They didn't necessarily guarantee any woman, the right to vote and certain We alienated any woman who wasn't white and so my conversation today is with Professor Martha Jones. Her work is something that I came across as I was studying this for myself between the articles that she's written and her incredible books, she's. So much wisdom to share Professor Jones is society of black alumni, presidential, professor and a professor of history at the John Hopkins Universe
city. She has a legal and cultural historian whose work examines how black Americans have shaped the history of american democracy, and today we are too about everything from genealogy to our ancestors to women's other women or women absolutely tearing other women down and how this applies today and why all of this is so important for you to learn for one specific reason you need. To vote, I will not tell you who to vote, for matters that your voice is heard, and so that is my conversation with Professor Jones, and I hope that you get as much out of
time as I did, I Rachel Hollis and I've built a multi million dollar media company with a high school diploma and the free information I found on the internet in the fifteen years that I've been building and scaling my company, I have become deeply passionate about helping other entrepreneurs to do the same so each week, I'll be sure tangible and tactical advice and inspiring interviews with the same intention. Bees are the tools to change your life and your business. This the rice podcast, I would like to believe that all sorts of different people listen to this pod cars. But if I had to ass. I have predominantly white women listening to this part costs, and I understand that and I understand that if you are white woman and you came through the object-
sure system in America. Your perspective of the Nineteenth amendment is probably very different and if you are a black woman and you grew up in the same country, and so I have been thinking about this were whenever Davis's in its August twenty first so since the beginning of August, I have been asking myself: how can we talk about the nineteenth amendment? It is hundredth anniversary of it being defied, that is a huge deal, but that's also not the whole story. So in one seemed to speak about it. This perspective is not my story to tell. And so I wanted to, I started to seek out books or articles that I could find to our myself with information, and in doing that, I came across your work. I found your article in that GEO and now what sort of what started this conversation and then very kindly agreed to jump on this quickly with me and have so if we could begin to sit. That's my kind of coming into this conversation. If we could begin
and by will you tell us just your mere story, to hear about women doing incredible things and your biography is unreal. So you just as much as you want to share. Tell your story about how did you end up in the line of work that you're end? I dont get here by a straight path. That's really important to say, and over time that's become my philosophy that the way the measure success, while their lots of ways to measure success, but one of them is through the sense Did you do work that has a purpose, and so that really has been the guiding principle for me all along. I like to tell my students, I started as I cut psychology nature. I tell them that it is a way to say it are. You can do things in college that don't turn out to be the things you do in life and so on. This account. You major and my roommate is also psychology major and she goes on to be today,
a very distinguished clinician and hospital administration. She did the whole nine, but by the time we finished college, I knew that wasn't gonna be my path and they took a year off. Work in a law firm thinking. Maybe I'd want to go to law school. I got very lucky because in those years and in the eighty, six going back quite a ways- new city, in the university system was opening a new law school that was set designed to train people who wanted to do and, as our motto goes law in the service of human needs- and this really spoke to me. This led me to think I could have a professional life- that didn't demand, that I abandoned my values or my ethics or my purpose, and so I trained accuse me, and I was a public interest, they are from almost a decade in New York City by last major, Work was representing women and their families with HIV and AIDS. In the beginning of that epidemic I found life is
litigator tasks. I found it tough to fight with people all day, and I took a sabbatical and a little bit like If I understand correctly, I had a love of history, but it was. It was certain amendments. Moorish and I had never really studied history very seriously as a student, but I had the chance to work. Some historians and I just got hot- I loved the tray your hand, I love the deep dive I loved for me blending my interest in family history with academic questions were at a meeting historians. At the same time, do you mean your own family, history yeah? So when I'm a lawyer, I spend my weekends and my vacation doing genealogy and then discovering my family tree and interviewing the elders in my family, and I find them incredibly interesting, I'm not sure if anybody else will buy. It teaches me why
three matters to people right, because Israel history, that we we figure out who we are, and so all of that sort o K. Together, and Here I am alive, years later, Jill finding ways to do that and this book that I've written vanguard begins with some family history. Finally, I had the courage to sort of put that family history a little bit of it on the page. It's so in my family, the my aunt of big family, big, southern family, on both sides, and they are very encouraging. Aussie, I mean I remember, being a little girl better before there was ancestry dot com before came. They were very into no incentives inna when winded. We come here from Ireland when those things happen, and so that was always a part of my life, but as look Canada and you know I didn't, take it very seriously and it wasn't till the last probably five year.
That I really started to dig back into that, and I dont know if it has felt similar for you. But for me I I to know why I am the way that I am know so. For instance, my grandparents, my my father's parents were migrant farm workers As you know, the story of sort of grapes of wrath or the DAS ball. That is my family's history, and I think of that is like the strength right, like one nuns, my grandma, to have six children and pick cotton, That was her story, and I find so much pride and strengthen that and that then led me to okay. Well, what's more, so similar for you and that there were some kind of catalyst that made you begin to wonder, or was it kind of always part of your life to talk about family history? in some ways. You know I have been raised with the guidance of a grandmother who was very interested in history and teaching that I was in a sense, a product of history.
He was the daughter of iron and woman is so in her family past was History of you know that scourge in that degradation. It was the story of freedom It was the story of how people bill lives out of that sperience, and she wanted me to know. I think in some ways how hard at what people had sacrificed in order for me to live there that I was living in the twentieth century, but it was also true in my family, utter about yours, but it'll even with that- we only told like five stories. It was the same five stories all the time. You know they were good store. We lay were only five of them. So would I get interested family history? Unlike you know what There's gotta be more here and that's become part of my work, and you know what that is things sure that you didn't
not all of them are things that absolutely warm your heart. There are some really hard troops there, but I believe that maybe in the way that you're saying I think, even knowing those hard truths, a kind of the fabric. Of my own tenacity right and my own tough rest when I'm having a good day, at least so I found string, the, even as I have discovered stories that no one had ever told me and that are difficult to hear Can I ask say no two of my best friends are black women and I know that one of the things that has come about in the last five years. Maybe that has been really powerful is not just the ancestry, but the ability to do at twenty three in me or sitting understands where they come from, where their ancestors come from. Because- and you please educate me if I'm I'm speaking out of turn but for
as poor. As my family was going back generations and generations there still recorded history right like we can trace. Sat back. But for many of my friends who are black. They don't have that because history was lost when they were they can when they were enslaved. So am I explaining that correctly or could you explain to listeners who might not understand that and then was it? Is that something that you ve done to sort of trace all the way back where you come from such a it such an important part of why. I think a lot of black Americans come to junior oh gee, even to genetic testing, because we don't have available to us the same kind of paper trail else my family, the trail, best I can figure it out only goes back to the beginning of the nineteenth century- that's not very long, and that certainly does not account for captivity in Africa, the Middle EAST
I the first time someone is sold on an auction block. I dont know those stories end. I think weight you're telling me is yeah, and sometimes people look to genetics. To answer those stories, I confess I am. I am a little sceptical about the the genetic testing and the limitations of bad increasing Lee. You know, as the genetic data is now being sold, end told a modern ties, I'm so glad I never did one of those I find that I think is apparent to anybody who meets me there. I am come from a so called mixed background, but mostly I ascribed that to another tough part of our here. Three, which is the history of sexual violence, in that the women in my family in the earliest women that I can trace are women who bore
children, not by consent, not by will but by force, and that leads to some complicated genetics. I guess he certainly, but it also it's a really complicated family, stories right where the family and friends something else begin, even as you might be genetically related to some one. Is that family? that's a really interesting question for me, and people have really different answers about that right. What you claim, who you claim, who you dont, claim I'm really interested in that, and what can I ask? What is your perspective on? Is that family? Is that not well your tapping into some research and some writing that I'm doing now for an which is a family history and one on discovering. Is that each generation answers that question very differently and that were times in my family history where people were gone. Did the so called white people in the family tree as famine,
and then there are later generations that really close the door on that and don't want to talk about that in part, because it includes the history of sexual violence and then look at me right, I'm somebody who looks at the center. Returns and and all kinds of records to rediscover For that, and I want to talk about it. Even if I don't have the perfect language I dont have the perfect framing. Yet I recognise that I think it's of the under told story, he's in the african American Pass is the ways in which ourselves our lives. Our families were shaped in part of sexual violence. When somebody like to run a Burke, brings as a movement? Like me, too, I hear something that reverberates back If you will into our deep passed, so this is something I'm trying to think about and write about right now. But it's not unique to
african american films, in the sense that many other families, as were saying earlier, tell stories that cover up some things and reveal others, and we get into the deep. In a business, and sometimes people find out things that no one of them told them about who they who they are so spake calves and that can be that can be unsaddling. That can be shattering. You know they can also be exciting, but it, but it definitely is. I think, settling to realize that you been telling a story about yourself that wasn't quite the whole story. A hundred per cent if you're an employer, You have a lot on your play during the Geller World, but especially right now, the news is zipper. Kurt can make your hiring process quick and painless. For example, CAFE
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sure, because it allows us to really easily see who we should be diving, deeper with and that deeper dive. That's how Dylan found his new director of coffee in just a few days with results like that? It's no wonder that four out of five employers who postpones the procurator get a quality candidate through the site within the first day, see wiser, recruiters, effective for business of all sizes. Try zipper crude or for free at zipper, cruder, dot com, slash rise that Zapruder dot com. Slash are I s. Zeb recruiter, dot com, slash rise, zip recruiter, the smartest way to hire I'm curious in, and I think, You can answer this as a historian or just as a woman when
we find that the pieces of your family history of your ancestry? All of us have, like you, said stories that r B, beautiful and inspiring and give a strength, and then there are stories that are in full or could cause shame, and so I'm curious. Do you sort of hold both of those together? Do you focus on the pieces? They give you strength, do how do you reconcile both pieces of that The thing that makes me ask that question is: might have a southern on both sides, which means we go back we're on the wrong side of the war across the that is my family history now is there are their strength. Our story is their beauty, the emigrant star, in coming here and those pieces that I find pride and absolutely, but it's not the whole truth. The vital also on the parts of that better off. Full and wrong, and under it it's like. If you can't look that and how in the world are you supposed to do
better. How do you hold both of those things, or do you try and focus on the ones that empower you for a long time? I I was personally stumped by that end, when I have discovered some difficult and the kind of person who would put it away or in a close the file on my hard drive and think about it for a long time. But if you remember it, if there's so many things to remember about Barack Obama's early presidency, but one of the things that happened when President Obama was elected was that strangers, went and did his family history I'd. So there's a thing that can happen and right you they asked the question he didn't ask the question, but people went ahead and investigated has failed. History and among his mothers, forebears were small slaveholders, and you know people who that up to Brok, Obama is if that would shake him, or that would be an indictment or that would somehow compromise
he was ok, but Obama said is that it in history. I american history. We are Americans, you know at least I'm an american right in and that's or history, and our history includes the possibility that I am descended from enslaved people and I am descended from slave holders and honestly for me, his steadiness in the face of revelation which was not his revelation at all. It was somebody else you no kind of sensationalize in his family, but his calmness, and he is centeredness in that really helped me to appreciate that in some History is history a minute hours, I think I'm butchering a quote from jail the poor, but you know the world is ours to make and in the end. I feel the same like I'm here, I'm in America with all that complexity, with all that seeming contradiction with a lot of pain and alive.
Of ugliness along with a lot of beauty and joy. I'm here and I'm not going anywhere and I'm gonna dress. That history, up to make you come from, all or fit in to some narrative that you have because we're here to make the future as in the future. I guess that's my response to you right, even as you are someone is- and these are your words- that mine right on the wrong side of something historic weight that lead question is: what do we do with that now? What do we do with that for the future? That's our charge as human beings, but we, Do that, looking with a clear where we come from? Yes. Well, that makes me think of knows, when you're writing you do this. I kind of start with questions that I have and then I will ponder them a resource and for a long time before I will ever speak about them publicly Samina asked
question that I've been wondering putting it out there that I don't have any answers, but it is something that I've been thinking, which is what has the person action ban. What has the relationship Ben historically between white, women and black women they think in here, three, what we have done and how we ve interacted with people will set the tone for everything that comes after, unless you actively work to change that narrative and so I have wondered at, which is awesome. This our conversation today were specifically talking about voting rights but I have wondered how that manifests into the relationships: we see today or the anger that we see today or often there are words that are ascribed to black women that are not ascribed to
women when they are, in my opinion, trying to stand up for themselves, trying to speak openly and honestly trying to show their frustration or their anger. Their pain and then sort of get opposition from other women who are not women like them and I wondered how much of that is historical. Is something that has manifested again and again. I dont know if I'm explaining myself well, but I was wondering if all the way back to time of pre civil war and sort of the role that white women played in turning a blind eye, pretending that and see what was happening or being complicit in what was happening and how, then that manifested in in relationships we have today did not make any sense at all what
there's a lot their yeah, but but I'm gonna try, because I think it's a really important question. As one of the ways that historians explain how the long life of racism is that racism migs existing structures, but it also exists in what is, all common sense. It exists in habit. It exists in attitude its end. Think in our own lives. We can appreciate that while it can be differ, call to see the structures sprite that promote the courage and the structures that racism is embedded in. We do have a sense of the ways in which the costs since the habit is something we inherit, and that is passed along and historians. Aerial Agrostis written about this in a book called what blood won't tell and what she looks. It is judges, courts and she explains how even judges
who are bound by the rule of law who have access to science in the best. Thinking rely on common sense, a great deal of the time when they approach questions of rain is racism and racial identity and its striking the way, which we make sense of the world and we use ideas that are passed along to us in very informal ways. So I think that's one piece of the puzzle but asked me about my own research and I'll. Tell you something that is try to write a history of women in the vote: black women in the boat, I got very distracted, or at least I thought it was initially when the women I was reading about kept talking about a place called the Ladys. So here we are in the nineteenth century, public transportation his segregated by custom, lay by law and there here are on street cars and certainly on railroads little
car set aside for Ladys and these are places where there's no smoking and where there is no her- and there are very few men unless there is scoring women and women pay premium to sit in these cars and black women when they travel looked to sit in these cars also because they dont want to sit in the smoker car. Where- billows are feeling car with literal smoke, where men are drinking and carousing there there's a lot going on on a railroad the night century, but the women I write about again and again talk about the ladys car. Why? Because even worse, They buy a ticket even when they are. You know in a correct. We comporting themselves. This middle class women on they are again and again harass, denigrated and oftentimes physically ejected from the Ladys car and almost any black women activists from the eighteen fifties? Almost other eight nineteen fifty
we'll tell a story about a confrontation on Iraq, rode on a street car and esteem ship thought my questions like what's going on here, because I'm interested in the vote, but it goes to your point part of what there Helping us is about this discrimination right. What part of what you're telling us. Is that why women watch white women watch I could only find one example of an instance where black woman, when she's harassed by a conductor, one example in which someone speaks up for her and the personal just speaks just shouts doesn't actually intervene and that has never left me. You know How do we see each other when we recognise that we have witnessed? right that white women. We have witnessed, stand immigration, the discrimination and these the violence that
needed out at black women when they refuse to give up their seats men calm, put your hands on these women? rags right, brutalized them rather than let them ride in the ladys car and people watch, including the white women in the ladys car. They watch and I think we're maybe only coming to a bright with What is has met right for someone, to be brutalize and other women to watch? That might even be a metaphor that is used to us in the twenty first century. Thank you for that. I love the perspective, I feel like women like if you go back as far as you can go, let's go back to sort of tribal culture. It felt light at least my understanding of that history throughout different cultures would be that your identified with the other women you identified or bonded based on gender,
not on race, not on the color of your skin and at some point, things started to shift and change that get your telling that story, and I knew what you're gonna say before you said it. I knew, of course I knew, and so what makes me wonder, is at what point did it stop being about women sticking together, you said this: you watched a man put his hands on another woman. You watch someone beef, equally violent or if you want to fast forward to the world that we're living in right. Now, you watched someone get shot when police spoken to her apartment in the middle of the night like TAT, you are watching this violence happened to other women at work. Point in our history: did it become about you sort of associated identified based on your skin color. Instead of the fact that, as a woman were also oppressed we're. Talking about the nineteenth amendment you were standing outside. You didn't have the right to vote, and so you are being oppressed
in certain ways, but you are oppressed. Others. I know that you're not be the Oracle and that you don't have all he answers, but winded. This shift start to happen that became what was acceptable. So there's a there are things intersecting. We need in order to think about that question. The first is what is the history of racism and historian Ebro. Candy has most recently in his book step from the beginning sort of help. Appreciate right, the long evolution in the emergence over many many centuries of racism, so that's one story. We'd have to tell them and racism doesn't begin in the nineteenth century. It a centuries old. By the time I get to the story of the Ladys cars, then one piece, the other piece comes from an old professor of mine who would say you know for most of human history. The world was a profoundly in a gala Terry and place a hierarchy. Difference
the order of the day and in some sense on interrogated, at least in Europe before the eighteenth century. It's the enlightenment that gives you Europeans critical vantage wait on all the inequality that has characterised their societies and others for a very long time. So it's coincidence that we get the rise, anti slavery thought we get the right I firmly feminism in the eighteenth century, because among european thinkers at least this is the moment of the enlightenment and a critical perspective on ball of human history and its profound inequalities. I guess the less thing to say is at least for me. I don't think for better or for worse
I dont think women stand outside of history. Our conversation about race about racism- and you know the modern United States- is just one example of the ways in which women stand in many positions right. That is party what we have to grapple with. Is that there are ideals to womanhood. There are aspirations that we bring to our shared womanhood. Sometimes we we get to them right. There are moments in: U S, history. When black and white wine, and I read it- black and white women in eighteen, thirty, eight in Philadelphia abolitionists who link arms who lecture together, who walked the streets together who are vilified and attack together. We have those stories to, but that is a struggle for american women. That is not gone. I obviously, I think we have it you're. One of the reasons I'm excited about the universe
Rigour of the Nineteenth amendment, because is that I think it's just become a focal point for these kind conversations about who are we involve. To one another as women. Our past is troubled. Our past is rocky, but who do we want to be now We understand how we got here. Those are the kinds of questions and conversations. I think that anniversary should be generating. I don't care about the floats people. No, I don't care about the laser like shows, but I very much care about the conversations that the new kinds of conversations we can have, because we're marking this centre. The role of the nineteen amendments I've before, and I will say it again: almost nothing is more vital in my life than a good night's sleep,
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Ok, guys, try not to freak out, because this is the most exciting news. Basically, ever Michelle Obama has a pot cast. That was me aching. That was me say Lee screaming, because the Michelle Obama podcast is now on Spotify the series brings listeners inside the former first. Ladies, most candid and personal conversations showing us what possible all when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable to open up and to focus on what matters most joy the former first lady is an array of special guess, including President Barack Obama, Marian and Robinson Conan Ryan, Valerie, Jarrett
Michel nor as an doktor Sharon. Malone episodes focus on relationships that shape us from siblings and close friends to partners, parents and and tours to our relationships with ourselves and our health. Listen free at Spotify Doc, Slash Michelle Obama. As an offer you are telling the stories of so many women who we have never had the story told I thought about this a lot of the last few years and I think, as I look to my future and I stepped back into fiction or whatever I decide to do. You know how it is with a book daily said: a finnish yearbook deals and what comes next. I think A lot about female warriors and I'd inside cases I mean the people who are actually physic we battling many many many years ago, and then I think about
modern day warriors or in the end, since the women that you write about and the thing that I that is so important for listeners to understand for the next year and of women and young girls to understand- is that we have those stories in our history. In every culture across all societies, there are stories of women who sit up an opposition who led armies into battle of Harriet, Tubman and the underground railroad and then at the end of the I don't know if you saw the movie, but at the end of Harriet I was so upset with myself or shoot. You know she leads the soldiers into battle and I was like what like I never knew this piece of two. I think what I wonder about is that those lorries exists but have not been told, and that, if you don't know that that's your history, then you I know that you are strong. Maybe you don't know, that's your history than you. Don't know
Oh? This is what it looks like when we stand together and we fight in the streets and we get attacked together and we too, if you dont, know that history is the only stories that are being told are the history you already understand, then youth even more unsure of how to rise up against the injustices in the world, so how much of what? you are creating. Now is about that like these? stories exists and nobody is telling these women stories yeah, Well I mean it sort of goes back to where we started with the family history. On the one hand, some of us do the stories right, but not enough of us wrong and so had a we take those store, in project them and make them part of a bigger say
shared knowledge and shared history is right. That's definitely. My work is to take the work really of three generations of black womens historians and to try and project it out to too many more folks who did know those stories. But the other way, I think the family history is useful. Is that I think there's no questions for me that, knowing you know my grandmother struggles, her mothers struggles and her mother mothers struggles, that's a big, heart of who I am or how I imagine who I am right, and so I think we need machination, right and proper of where imagination comes from is from this or, as we know, from the examples that we tackle- and I don't have you ever liquid
the genealogy is running for everything we talk about today is great, but you're either of you. Ve ever watched professor penalty and we lose gates is programme finding your roots, but nobody knows that down takes our gates. Does a programme where he does the genealogy of of notable people, often timescale. Oh round, and then he I've seen a who do you think you are? Have you seen show ok and here's the thing so heated in episode with Chris Rock the comedian that I have never forgot, because Rock explained his life. He was the son of a janitor or maintenance man, and he had expected. He would do the same in his life and comedy sort of give him another path but gates when he does. Chris rocks History discovers that gates's is great, great great great
grandfather Great great grandfather- had been a political leader in the nineteenth century during the reconstruction ear and you can see on crews, rocks face how power everything changes and he says to get something like you know. Who would I and if I had known that right so who would we be if we knew- and I am never forgotten that because it was an example of in an instant bright how the power of the pass our own power but our collective past right can train, form our imaginations and our sense of hope, can be? Who we should be? Who we must be? I'm someone who's lucky because My grandmother made sure I knew a good bit of that history, and that I carried it with me and then I was accountable to that, and I hope that this, worries that I write serve, just as I hope you know the black women, leaders in our midst right were living. Breathing
televisions on our screens are inspiring and informing in shaping the imaginations of girls. And of young women. You know today Young women, young black women young, indian american women in this country have a new way to gin who they might be and it lives breathes named Kemal Harris example, but it is the kind of example. I think that you are talking about an and that really does work in people's lives. I think it's not just window dressing. I think it really does change people's lives. I mean I think, for listeners amid. I hope that between the two of us we have encouraged less and less to to do that. Family research and I want to encourage to its it litter starts with go speed. You, said. This is beginning to speak to the elders in your family. Go have a conversation with
grandparents go Ino start start with your parents and then work your way back. I was really lucky and that that was always should have part of of my child had growing up. So I knew which aunties a call and they would tell me the stories and help me trace it back, but you a lot about imagination and I feel like that is a beautiful subway for why I wanted to be able to have an listeners meet you in and hear. Your wisdom is because, if I didn't explain as well, the beginning August marks one hundred years since the nineteenth them Was ratified meaning it was accepted and tell me if I'm wrong, but it was accepted throughout the country and what I learned ass. A little girl was the night in amendment meant that women have the right to vote So it started long before that in a fighting for this right and getting states to accept it. But finally, sturdy: six state Tennessee it gets ratified
and I had always grew up understanding that that was when women have the right to vote and what I now can understand is that not all women, you know in the form of voters, suppression that black men had encountered sense. The fifteenth amendment- and we see this manifest today so far, listeners who may not be as familiar with that story. Will you share it with us, there is a long and hard fight for the Nineteenth amendment in again, singly across that fight? It is one that is waged not exclusively. But primarily by white women in the United States, the prospect of extending it, vote to african american women is expected to in a sense marked the death of the nineteenth amendment. So What's going on the Nineteenth amendment the way it's written, it prohibits the states from using sex as a boating criteria. It doesn't
guarantee the vote to any women. That hit me when I read it new article. It did give everybody it didn't say we waved a wind and now all the women get to come and vote. All that amendment said was you couldn't be? A state could not discriminate against you, based on your agenda, Didn't guarantee anything. It just said you can't discriminate. For this reason, I'm sorry to interrupt, but I know it it's it's really important, because that means that there are women who can't vote even after one thousand nine hundred and twenty you might be to you. You might not be a citizen, you might not be a resident, you might not have the mental competency right. All of those things are still permitted by the cap. Institution as barriers to the vote, but to your point I think the story that I tell is one about african american women who everybody understands will still be subjected to state laws that are already keeping black
and from voting these are things like Paul taxes. Gotta pay dollar or too long before the election. If you wanted in a November literacy tests at the discretion, someone hands you a text and says read this: it could be a simpler is difficult. Can I encourage listeners too, because I did this when I was doing my research, I googled what literacy tasks were their crazy. There honestly believe me, it's wild- and I I also I want you will better explained this, and I do but I wanna make sure not miss. This point saying right now, maybe if you're in twenty twenty- and you don't understand the relevance of this. So if you say there was a pull tax mean that you to pay money in order to vote, or that you had to take a literacy tests in order to vote. Was voters suppression specifically aims,
at people who would not have had the finances or the education in order to do either. So if and please help me if I'm wrong, but the fifteenth amendment was, was it five years you're. The civil war ended that that came in short, a teen, so right, and so if we are still struggling with systemic racism and twenty twenty in massive ways, then you have to understand listeners that fight years after the civil war ended. There is no way that everyone just suddenly, okay with equal rights, just it's not a thing so then things were put into place, which would say: ok you, to pay money in order to vote which, if you have just left this world. Where you have been enslaved, you do not have money to pay up whole tax if you ve just left a world where You were enslaved, you don't have the education to read anything. So it's important, sorry, I'm getting fired up.
It's important. I know that our listeners were black, understand this peace, but in case religion like? I don't get it with. It was very specific. It was very intentional, aimed at of a group of people who would not have that ability so from eighteen. Seventy when The fifteenth amendment goes into place to nineteen he. Now women have this ability, and allegedly black women now their those black women. Those women who want to vote are facing the same. This make fresh in and voters. Question that the men had been fighting against for very time is is that it may correct and that understanding absolute, They give you one more illustration cause. I think it's the most graphic one southern states by the Eighteen ninety have enacted. What are called grandfather clause is, what does that mean? It means
don't say if your black, you can't vote, they say if you grandfather, didn't vote before one sixty eight, you can't vote, Does that mean that means of course the people who descended from slaves, for million people by the way are barred from the poles because, of course, they're grandfathers couldn't out their grandfathers were old as enslaved people. So it is important now as it was. Then. To read between the lines right, an end to appreciate that these laws are written to avoid constitutional problems. Right can't say, raise you can't, say no black people, but they are written in a way that are intended to target african, emotive american voters, and indeed they do, and it's a you say in nineteen twenty, this. It is not it does not secret right today. Maybe political folks would sort of
you know in back rooms right off the record, talk about in racist terms, but not on the record, none on floor of the of the Congress or the floor of a state legislature when they are in fact enacting something like a voter idee requirement, but in nineteen twenty. This was that this was an open discussion on the floor of Congress on the floor state legislatures. Yes, we can. Ass the Nineteenth amendment, because we know that black women still won't be or to vote in many many places. Now it's important to say that some black women do vote. Importantly in states like me, work in California and Illinois. Black women will vote even before nineteen twenty, but for most black women, critically, southern black women, these kinds state law. So this is law, there's nothing legitimate about it that, since these are laws that have kept black men from the poles, as you say, a narrow gonna keep to women from the pulse black women risk, It is, they know, what's coming so they organise citizenship, schools, suffrage, schools, they trade,
teach one another how to overcome these tests. Are you pass? Illiteracy tells how do you pay a pole tax? You can train people Teach people how to do that that goes on, but there's so violence and intimidation, and what Women want, in the wake of the Nineteenth amendment, now is federal legislation that will work, away those statements, as they want an Express act of Congress. That will override the state laws and open the poles to all women, and they don't get that they don't get that until nineteen sixty five in modern civil rights era. We have finally the passage of the Voting Rights ACT. All right, yeah, have probably heard me, and new dog wit talking about open farm and
honestly, I wish, I could say, don't take my word for it. Take her word for it, but she can actually speak. So what I will tell you is that I wanted to try open farm before I would commit to having them as a partner here on the pod cast an I am such a big fan of the fact that every single part of this pet food is traceable, so you know where it comes from and how it was grown. Their food is made from real ingredients, so things like Grass FED wagon, beef or ocean wise, approved Wild caught Pacific salmon and they add non gmo fruits and vegetables like pumpkin and spanish, with absolutely no fillers and here's the thing, maybe you're like. Why,
Should I care about dog food? Why should I care about cat food like they just eat whatever, honestly pet food is some of the most awful process thing that exist in the world today and we feed. To these members of our family, that we love so much. So if you care about your pats, the way I care about Geoffrey and about wit, then check open farm and see why they have ten thousand five STAR reviews visit open farm, Pat Doc calm, slash rise and use the discount code rise to get twenty percent off your first order. I want to make And this too, we are obviously talking about the history of black women voting and the Nineteenth amendment, but if you're listening, I feel it it's important to say to this affects people of color across the board
so you mention, say id laws which makes me think of- and I might get my dates wrong here, but I think it's one thousand nine hundred and twenty four was the first time that native american indigenous people were allowed to vote want to see it again. So I want to make sure that you heard me one thousand nine hundred and twenty four. So you are indigenous on this. Land were the first people here in nineteen twenty four, but even still there were loopholes. There was voter suppression in that as well, and instill is by the way, because what state started to do with say. Okay, will you have to have a state id in order to be able to vote? But if you were born, at home on a reservation. You may not have a state idee, so it's just important to understand that this kind of suppression happen all over the place and to be about imagination and what I wanted and what I hope in this idea. All of this information that we have discussed about where
who come from and who your family is, is that across the board, people have had to fight so hard, for the right to vote for representation and as we go in to November, and as we go into another election that is so important for Europe Mr De listeners That is really all of these things leading to this you talked about, The idea of like what you ve had to go through in this idea of we stand on the shoulders of giants, for some reason was its size Newton, that we stand on the shoulders of giants, who fought so hard. I know- and you know the million people who listen of his podcast. I know that there are. But who are not registered or who are disenfranchised or whose it doesn't matter or think their voices. That matter, which is why I wanted them to hear from you, because I was so inspired by your work and I saw a man. If maybe we could just talk about how hard people have had to fight. So
we have this ability that may that would inspire people too. Use their voice and whatever way they can, and for me you know that was my own family history. One of the last things I did when I was finishing this book was trot. Finally, try and figure out how and when my own grandmother voted for the first time because I thought it was time for me to know that in the end I didn't know the answer to that, but once I realized how the women in my life, women that I knew were part of my life that help raise me when I knew their struggles. I thought I'm not they gonna be registered, about which I am, I hope, nobody's per me from the roles, but I'm good I do my homework this year. So I'm sure I know how to vote, because everything is shifting underneath us and what I did last November is not going to apply, and so I've got to figure out. I had this experience. We voted in Maryland in June in a primary and
by mail, so first summit by mail- and fortunately out of it just by Winston in somebody said to me. Oh you know, by the way, don't forget to sign the outside of the Oslo, and I said what look and sure enough. There was a place, but I tell you I would have sealed up dropped it in the mail, and not signed, and so talk about vigilance this year is the year to be vigilant because I almost dropped my english ballot into a mailbox in June, because I understand the rules? I didn't understand the mechanics. I was voting in a way. I'd never voted before. So I think we all gonna have to be sorted out our game and really into the details and teach other people tell people in your church, community, TAT people in your club? Tell people at the gym. Tell people on your your, your neighborhood, Facebook
whatever it is. You both need to really understand the nitty gritty, a vote. Where is the mailbox? You know people live in neighborhoods where the mailboxes is disappeared. Apparently in is country. Where are the mailboxes in November write all of that. We're gonna have to you know the legal in voters and other organizations are certainly gonna, be there to help us, but we're going have to really help one another. I think in a way that is unprecedented in this country. You just said something that sparked a memory from somebody's look about earlier, which was talking about those women all those years ago, the black women who were teaching others how to pay the pull tax, how to take a literacy test, and I think there is an instinct. Certainly me, feel angry when you tell me that women had to do that, and I can't even imagine how angry it makes you and I think, There's something very interesting here about being a woman being a purse of color being algae, BT, Q being any basically
leaving, but a white man is that you have to play the game until you can change the rules of the game, and so you, talking about you, know hey. I need to know everything that I need to know to sign the envelope. I need to know to tell other people to do that then, are people who listen to this and say doesn't matter its. Does the system's broken yeah. This system is broken, but you can't affect this system if you're not inside of it and so is something to this idea of You know you know this history better than than I do obviously, and because you I'm new to your work, I haven't read the book at, but I'm so excited. I'm gonna go read em all, but I'm cited about the newest one vanguard, because just the I'll bet that I've been able to glean is black one and were telling me stories fighting for equality in power I'll text that you wouldn't be discriminated because of your gender that you all of those things. First,
they were, they were doing these things. First, those women could have just been like you know, screw you guys, like This doesn't matter, but the edge did themselves, and then they did one of the most powerful things you can do, which is educate, others that you're absolutely right- and, I think, did lesson out of that. Is yes you in some sense some of us have to be in it right. We ve gotta be in its right in order to steer our fates yet the women. I write about wouldn't object if you want is that you vote and on. Saturday you had the city hall with You know with a placard and you make some noise right- that I think people policy it isn't one note there is only one way to effect change about what they would say. Is you ve got to use every tool in your tool. Kit and you ve gotta be nimble. You ve gotta be creative and you gotta be pissed.
It's a long game. Politics is a long game. It is not a sprint. It really is that marathon and what I'd love about writing. Vanguard was looking at women who start you know in their twenties. Activists and they're doing one kind of thing, and by time therein, their sixties, they're doing a whole other set of thing, so our lives as citizens. Our lives is activists, our lives is political beings, are long and we should enjoy and fight with everything. We have at our disposal, but there is no question that for me, the world history since nineteen twenty, it's not enough. It's not everything. There is more work to do, but here in twenty twenty not only is commonly Harris a candidate for vice president, you no more than a hundred and twenty black women are running for Congress. It is a record breaking year more than
Two hundred and thirty. I think women running for Congress this year in nineteen twenty very few people could have imagined that we are going somewhere end and what else would Do I see the last thing about election day is take your niece. Take your God daughter. Take your child and take your grandchildren, whoever you are out there. Take your sister take young people. With you, whether it's too the Pauling Place or sitting down at the kitchen, able and filling out that ballot, because this is all oh a year in which we really need to educate and bring on board really young people who can't yes, I'm somebody who remembers going to with my mother to vote no in standing in that booth- and I was too small all to relieve and see what she was doing right. She had to put me down and I stood there and serve looked up ass. She did her thing I never forgot it
and her message to me was in some day this will be you. This is an important part of what we do so when you vote take somebody with you and and show them how it's done, show them how women one of the important ways that women make a difference, and show their power in a black women show up, even when nobody wants them, they're, leaving a record. We are here right and we're not going anywhere, and I think that at a minimum, what we have to say this year, but I actually think this year we have a chance to make a difference. Professor durned thank you so much thanks so much for taking the time you first of all, four for doing it so last minute with me, clever like it, important for this pine cast to go in August and we're talking about the Nineteenth amendment. Thank you for your wisdom and thank you for being willing to. Let me ask questions that are. I should
already know the answers to or say things in ways that it is maybe incorrect. I really appreciate the grace and and having this conversation with me, and I know that listeners are owing be so touched by what you ve shared the newest books. Called Vanguard I would love if you just talk about that four and then the book that came before it is well cause. That's when it really excited to read to and then tell us that's where they can get them sure Wherever you get your book, I met her. I recommend your local independent bookseller a bookstore, Org goes to supporting independent booksellers, but Vanguard, looks it too and years of african american women's political history asking a question: were black women so purchase. What did they do with suffragists in and how has it mattered? How has it made a difference? So I was starting with people like Stacy Abrams, and one to tell the history, which is not the history
much of Elizabeth Katy stand in Season Anthony, but it is a mighty history of black, and for mothers in she arose where there for all of us no more about and embrace and fold into our imaginations. About who we should be. Their guard is out September, eighth and thanks to everybody who is already pre ordered it's been really exciting to get the book out there. The book there before that was called birthright citizens, and here I wanted to. Look at the history of citizenship, from the perspective of black Americans on even before where the civil war, we often time, tell the story. Citizenship, do the fourteenth amendment to the? U S constitution. Forgive me you're, just gonna take you for deep dive for half a minute into legal history, but the 14Th Amendment constitutional ISIS principle of Birthright, born in the United States. You are a citizen of the United States as simple as that, but before one thousand eight hundred and sixty eight
I feel that a lot of questions in a lot of inconsistency and a lot of trouble for black Americans who often times were treated as and regarded as non citizens, so I looked at them ways in which black Americans for themselves create this idea, forthright citizenship on how they fight for it, how they struggle how they promote it and then see it. Finally, after Many decades struggle become part of the constitution, after the civil war in eighteen. Forty, eight that book is set in the city of Baltimore, which happens to be today. My hometown, that, though it wasn't always true. So I hope learn something about the african American political past even before we get to the civil war and the abolition of slavery. Wonderful, thank you so much, but to have the time with you, and I hope that we can come back and have another conversation, because I learning about history is one of my
things in the whole world, and I think this is american history. I want to speak for everyone who is listening, but I was definitely raised in an education system it taught me white american history, and this is american history, so if it you are truly someone who believes in this country and what it is capable of and calls yourself an American. You need to be educated about the full history, the full scope, like we said earlier, it is possible for us to understand the the pie so our past that make us proud and let us know that we are strong, but we also have to hold the pain and the suffering and the oppression, because both of those are our story. So thank you for being our teacher today. They sparingly
for me. This has been a pleasure thanks, Rachel guys. I hope that you loved that conversation with Professor Jones as much as I do. I I was like such a nerd You have talked her for hours and hours and if we're still with me listening to this than I think that you will agree that this was a really important conversation that we need to have and that more people need to hear. So if you got something out of this myself and Professor Jones Man, we so appreciate if you would take a screen, shot, of this episode and posted on their social media tag me so that I can see tat Professor John, so that she can get all the followers but tell people about this
rotation, or do one better and have conversations like this yourself with people in your community and all so make sure you are registered to vote. Please look in your state when the deadline happen, so that you don't miss it. Your voice matters cause you matter
what's up everyone, I'm beans and I'm Serious- and this is a shy about us. Every day- lies the ends as opposed to being parttime. Lisbon is anyway so exciting for you to be here. So we can chat about serve like movie use sport. Sam is watching on Tiktok and also what is it a lot easier to make the perfect lazy weekend cocktail what's going on a renewed and what is that doesn't make you all and so much more to contract with us and take us along on your air or paying with us at work here also, we can write a note, those inscribed now. I never miss unobserved.
Transcript generated on 2020-08-25.