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Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All

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The epic history of African American women's pursuit of political power -- and how it transformed America. In the standard story, the suffrage crusade began in Seneca Falls in 1848 and ended with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. But this overwhelmingly white women's movement did not win the vote for most black women. Securing their rights required a mov The epic history of African American women's pursuit of political power -- and how it transformed America. In the standard story, the suffrage crusade began in Seneca Falls in 1848 and ended with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. But this overwhelmingly white women's movement did not win the vote for most black women. Securing their rights required a movement of their own. In Vanguard, acclaimed historian Martha S. Jones offers a new history of African American women's political lives in America. She recounts how they defied both racism and sexism to fight for the ballot, and how they wielded political power to secure the equality and dignity of all persons. From the earliest days of the republic to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and beyond, Jones excavates the lives and work of black women—Maria Stewart, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Fannie Lou Hamer, and more—who were the vanguard of women's rights, calling on America to realize its best ideals.


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The epic history of African American women's pursuit of political power -- and how it transformed America. In the standard story, the suffrage crusade began in Seneca Falls in 1848 and ended with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. But this overwhelmingly white women's movement did not win the vote for most black women. Securing their rights required a mov The epic history of African American women's pursuit of political power -- and how it transformed America. In the standard story, the suffrage crusade began in Seneca Falls in 1848 and ended with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. But this overwhelmingly white women's movement did not win the vote for most black women. Securing their rights required a movement of their own. In Vanguard, acclaimed historian Martha S. Jones offers a new history of African American women's political lives in America. She recounts how they defied both racism and sexism to fight for the ballot, and how they wielded political power to secure the equality and dignity of all persons. From the earliest days of the republic to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and beyond, Jones excavates the lives and work of black women—Maria Stewart, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Fannie Lou Hamer, and more—who were the vanguard of women's rights, calling on America to realize its best ideals.

30 review for Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Schulman

    Essential read that will permanently transform popular myths about women's rights and women's suffrage by illuminating the individual Black women and the tropes and trends in the history of the US Black women's movement that are still at play to win full access to the vote. Essential read that will permanently transform popular myths about women's rights and women's suffrage by illuminating the individual Black women and the tropes and trends in the history of the US Black women's movement that are still at play to win full access to the vote.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    I received an advance reader copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review via netgalley and the publishers. Vanguard is a non-fiction book detailing the fight that black women have fought for decades for basic rights. I loved how detailed this book was and although Martha S Jones talks about famous names who helped shape history such as Fannie Lou Hamer, Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth, she also talks about less famous activists who no matter how small a detail, helped shape blac I received an advance reader copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review via netgalley and the publishers. Vanguard is a non-fiction book detailing the fight that black women have fought for decades for basic rights. I loved how detailed this book was and although Martha S Jones talks about famous names who helped shape history such as Fannie Lou Hamer, Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth, she also talks about less famous activists who no matter how small a detail, helped shape black womens rights through time. This is such an important read, especially as the world stands today with recent happenings across the globe.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sara Broad

    "Vanguard" by Martha Jones is a nonfiction novel about how Black women through America's history fought for political power. While Jones writes about some of the famous Black female activists like Sojourner Truth, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Harriet Tubman, she also writes about the many Black women who fought for rights who never made the front pages. As a native Philadelphian, it was really interesting to me to read about the activism that occurred here over the past several hundred years. It is als "Vanguard" by Martha Jones is a nonfiction novel about how Black women through America's history fought for political power. While Jones writes about some of the famous Black female activists like Sojourner Truth, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Harriet Tubman, she also writes about the many Black women who fought for rights who never made the front pages. As a native Philadelphian, it was really interesting to me to read about the activism that occurred here over the past several hundred years. It is also important to read about how the intersection of race and gender made it more difficult for women to earn many of the human and civil rights to which they are entitled. While the ending cuts to current times, I would have liked to read more about Black women's activism over the last few decades. Overall, this was a really interesting read and makes it clear that there is so much more we should be learning in history class.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Amanda | District Reads

    Out Sept 8th, this masterpiece highlights the work of Black women, who are more often than not at the forefront of major movements, their essential grassroots work exploited for political gain or taken for granted by major political parties. It reveals real truths about the women’s suffrage movement, which was overwhelming white-led. While they profited off the work of their Black sisters, many white women in the movement furthered their own rights over that of Black women, using the white fear o Out Sept 8th, this masterpiece highlights the work of Black women, who are more often than not at the forefront of major movements, their essential grassroots work exploited for political gain or taken for granted by major political parties. It reveals real truths about the women’s suffrage movement, which was overwhelming white-led. While they profited off the work of their Black sisters, many white women in the movement furthered their own rights over that of Black women, using the white fear of Black communities to push their aims. But enough of that - the point isn’t to center white women in this historical narrative - this book is not about them and shouldn’t be. This history is the story of women’s rights from the perspective of Black women, who fought tooth and nail for the ballot, and their remarkable resilience in the face of intimidation and murder by a white majority determined to keep them down. Maria Stewart, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Fannie Lou Hamer. Just a few names you get to learn more about, names that are rarely, if ever, found in history textbooks. The battle for women’s equality owes them a huge debt, one that’s yet to be repaid. My only regret when reading this is that it doesn’t go into the history of Black women-led activism in the last few decades, but this is a 350+ page book so I totally get it. If you’re interested in learning more about Black women’s political badassery, I’ll share a few resources in my Linktree (in bio). Please, please pick this one up. If your feminism isn’t intersectional, it’s fucked. Thank you to Netgalley Read Now and Basic Books for the opportunity to read this. As always, if I missed the mark in this review, I appreciate any call outs or learnings.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Layburn

    3.5 stars While interesting in its own right, Jones’ work is even more compelling when read during our current climate. Equal parts frustrating & hopeful, Jones presents intriguing parallels between our present day fight against police brutality/for racial equality & the historical battle of black women for the right to vote- the details may be different, but the challenges, efforts, and goals, are remarkably similar. An interesting and timely work. This ARC was obtained through Edelweiss, with thank 3.5 stars While interesting in its own right, Jones’ work is even more compelling when read during our current climate. Equal parts frustrating & hopeful, Jones presents intriguing parallels between our present day fight against police brutality/for racial equality & the historical battle of black women for the right to vote- the details may be different, but the challenges, efforts, and goals, are remarkably similar. An interesting and timely work. This ARC was obtained through Edelweiss, with thanks to Basic Books/Hachette, in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Shazia

    This is a perfectly fine overview of black women's roles in the fight for equality. However, it is more or less just a documentation of various black women's political activities since the 1860s. I would have far preferred a book with a strong thesis, which this lacks. It also doesn't delve deeply enough into any individual woman to have the pleasures of a great biography. In the end, it might be a good reference book for getting started, but I'm looking for the author who digs in more deeply - This is a perfectly fine overview of black women's roles in the fight for equality. However, it is more or less just a documentation of various black women's political activities since the 1860s. I would have far preferred a book with a strong thesis, which this lacks. It also doesn't delve deeply enough into any individual woman to have the pleasures of a great biography. In the end, it might be a good reference book for getting started, but I'm looking for the author who digs in more deeply - one way or another.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Angie

    While this held information I was interested in, I found the style difficult to engage with. Very loosely structured, Jones wanders widely through time and location with few road signs. The focus to bring in the names and stories of as many women as possible obscures the greater arc of history, which is my interest. Lack of detail and a plethora of jargon terms and catchwords added to my overall muddle. There is some interesting information in this book and I think, with the use of an index, it While this held information I was interested in, I found the style difficult to engage with. Very loosely structured, Jones wanders widely through time and location with few road signs. The focus to bring in the names and stories of as many women as possible obscures the greater arc of history, which is my interest. Lack of detail and a plethora of jargon terms and catchwords added to my overall muddle. There is some interesting information in this book and I think, with the use of an index, it could be used nicely as “who’s who” of prominent African-American women through our history. (I assume the written version has one.) I listened to this on audio-book with Mella Lee narrating. I found the reading style over-dramatic and emotional and never got fully used to it. My lack of engagement due to the writing and reading styles caused me to take a long time to get through this, so much so that my audiobook library check-out expired and I had to wait to go back to it. The long break wasn’t helpful to engagement. It was worth going back to though and I am glad that I finished it. I feel like a have a vague foundation of knowledge about black women in politics that I hope to build on.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Diana

    The biggest compliment I can pay this book is that I want to read a separate biography of all the magnificent Black women featured in its pages. So important to learn the names and stories of these super important historical figures. Though at times the writing was slightly academic and dense, the book shines when it features the powerful words of the women who fought for their rights without apology. I was simply blown away at all the history I didn't know (and I consider myself at least slight The biggest compliment I can pay this book is that I want to read a separate biography of all the magnificent Black women featured in its pages. So important to learn the names and stories of these super important historical figures. Though at times the writing was slightly academic and dense, the book shines when it features the powerful words of the women who fought for their rights without apology. I was simply blown away at all the history I didn't know (and I consider myself at least slightly knowledgeable about suffrage history). Some of my favorite quotes (many of which emphasize the connections between faith and activism for these women, which I identify with): Dolly Bangs, writing a letter to the Black Woman owned newspaper "Provincial Freeman" asserting equal rights for women: "Would it not be preposterous to ask of man that which he has not the power to give?- he like woman, is but a creature dependent upon his Creator for his own rights....It is [woman's] right, as her duty, to press boldly forward to her appointed task, otherwise who is guilty of burying her talent?" (Page 76) Harriet Tubman's closing message to her fellow suffragists: "Tell the women to stick together. God is fighting for them and all will be well." (Page 199) Eliza Ann Gardner, who fought for women to be ordained in the AME Zion church in the 1860s: "If you will try to do by us the best you can...you will strengthen our efforts and make us a power; but if you commence to talk about the superiority of men, if you persist in telling us that after the fall of man we were put under your feet...we cannot help you." (Page 132)

  9. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn Whitzman

    An excellent history of the movement for the rights of Black women in the US. Black women stood at the crosshairs: simultaneously excluded by white suffragists in the 19th and early 20th centuries (even as some embraced anti-slavery causes and elevated men like Frederick Douglass to their dais) and Black male-led organisations and institutions like churches. Jones provides dozens of short biographies of Black women, from pioneering preachers like Jarena Lee in the 1810s, to Stacey Abrams. Some o An excellent history of the movement for the rights of Black women in the US. Black women stood at the crosshairs: simultaneously excluded by white suffragists in the 19th and early 20th centuries (even as some embraced anti-slavery causes and elevated men like Frederick Douglass to their dais) and Black male-led organisations and institutions like churches. Jones provides dozens of short biographies of Black women, from pioneering preachers like Jarena Lee in the 1810s, to Stacey Abrams. Some of the people she documents, like Sojourner Truth or Fannie Lee Hamer, are well-known, even to white non-Americans like me. But she puts these women in context and amplifies others who deserve to be better known. Jones’ theme is a torch being passed, metaphorically but also sometimes literally, from mother to daughter. It is hard to keep track of the individuals in this narrative, which may be the point: the movement is the message.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Fascinating and deeply researched book. I have a list of people, organizations, and events I want to read about further after finishing this. It took me a long time to read not because it was not a good book, but because it was dense and my pandemic spaz brain can only deal with so much detail at a time.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Catherine Pyke

    Most agree that Black Women like Stacey Abrams exercised an outsized influence in the 2020 Elections and in the recent special election for Senate in Georgia. Historian and John Hopkins University Professor Martha S. Jones’s new book Vanguard shows us that Abrams and other powerful Black women come from a very long tradition of strong and community minded women. Many of these women began as leaders in their churches, becoming powerful and celebrated speakers. 2020 marked the centennial celebrati Most agree that Black Women like Stacey Abrams exercised an outsized influence in the 2020 Elections and in the recent special election for Senate in Georgia. Historian and John Hopkins University Professor Martha S. Jones’s new book Vanguard shows us that Abrams and other powerful Black women come from a very long tradition of strong and community minded women. Many of these women began as leaders in their churches, becoming powerful and celebrated speakers. 2020 marked the centennial celebration of the enactment of the 19th Amendment, which states that a citizen’s suffrage can’t be denied “on account of sex.” But most of the celebrations of the achievement of a woman’s right to vote focused on white women suffragists. Jones’ book reveals the fascinating role of Black women who worked equally hard to achieve suffrage, while at the same time addressing a much wider range of civil rights concerns, including anti lynching efforts, redressing discrimination and segregation when using public street cars, gaining access to education or seeking employment opportunities. Black women, Jones points out, fought for rights for all of humanity, not exclusively for women. Nor did the achievement of Suffrage assure Black women the right to vote. Jim Crow in the South made voting in the South as fraught and impossible for Black women as it long had for Black men. Because issues of voting suppression and contested election results continue to incite controversy and spark discussion, Jones’ book makes for essential, thoughtful reading.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

    In a country that is continually having to reckon its historic ideals with its history of racism and sexism, the lives of black women both in the past and in our present time illustrate how all of these lines converge. In this wonderful corrective to the historic record, Martha Jones details how black women were at the forefront, the vanguard, of this country’s striving for greater equality for African-Americans and women. Starting with a prologue where she describes the history of the women in h In a country that is continually having to reckon its historic ideals with its history of racism and sexism, the lives of black women both in the past and in our present time illustrate how all of these lines converge. In this wonderful corrective to the historic record, Martha Jones details how black women were at the forefront, the vanguard, of this country’s striving for greater equality for African-Americans and women. Starting with a prologue where she describes the history of the women in her family’s struggle for political rights in America, Prof. Jones sets the tone and the theme of the book, noting how black women’s current prominence in politics did not appear out of nowhere, but they stand on the shoulders of black women who struggled for equality in their churches, through abolition work, and through the push for suffrage for women, white and black, in the 20th century. There are a lot of historic figures in here that I was not aware of, which made it difficult for me to focus in the early pages. But, as Prof. Jones’s narrative moves along and more prominent figures such as Sojourner Truth and Ida B. Wells begin to make an appearance, this book really begin to trick up steam and her themes start to come into focus more clearly. Despite history too often brushing over the contributions women of color have made, Prof. Jones makes a compelling case in this book for why understanding the past struggles of black women can help us better understand prominent black women today such as Stacey Abrams and Sen. Kamala Harris. It took me a bit of time to war up to this book, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and give it high praise for highlighting the contributions of extraordinary black women who I was woefully ignorant of. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested learning more about great the struggle for equality in America through a new historic lens.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Alida Thomas

    I listened to a huge portion of this book on audiobook, while walking, running, or biking (indoors). The content was such that it would sometimes make me speed up in anger, sometimes almost stop in my tracks. While reading/listening, I had to actively grieve the incomplete histories I was taught about the Women's Suffrage movement (the erasure of so many Black Women who were activist for equality of race and equality of gender) and became really angry that so many of the same obstacles (or argum I listened to a huge portion of this book on audiobook, while walking, running, or biking (indoors). The content was such that it would sometimes make me speed up in anger, sometimes almost stop in my tracks. While reading/listening, I had to actively grieve the incomplete histories I was taught about the Women's Suffrage movement (the erasure of so many Black Women who were activist for equality of race and equality of gender) and became really angry that so many of the same obstacles (or arguments against justice/equality) for Black Women in society, politics, and the church remain today; including some clear examples of the toxic failures of white feminism. But I am incredibly grateful to this detailed historical work for teaching me the stories of so many incredible Black Women trailblazers.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    The structure of this book relies on a series of biographies to build a picture of the role of Black women in politics. I learned a ton about these women--some were previously unfamiliar to me, others I'd only known in a very specific role (like Frances Ellen Watkins Harper as a poet) whose accomplishments went so much further. That said, it often felt more like a collective biography rather than an overarching history, and I wish I had more meat that comes with a wider lens. It felt a little li The structure of this book relies on a series of biographies to build a picture of the role of Black women in politics. I learned a ton about these women--some were previously unfamiliar to me, others I'd only known in a very specific role (like Frances Ellen Watkins Harper as a poet) whose accomplishments went so much further. That said, it often felt more like a collective biography rather than an overarching history, and I wish I had more meat that comes with a wider lens. It felt a little like jumping from A to B to C to B to D to A to C, etc. This book did broaden my scope of history as it's not taught to us in school, and I hope to read more dedicated biographies and memoirs of these (and other) trailblazing women.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    This was a wonderful book and should be mandatory reading for all. I don't know what it will take to start to 'complete' our text books so that they teach more than the European American immigrant and citizen experience. We are one of the most diverse (if not the most diverse) country in the world and you'd think that there were only people of European descent here, according to our text books. These women are all in my pantheon of 'heroes'. We need them more today than ever to guide us as our de This was a wonderful book and should be mandatory reading for all. I don't know what it will take to start to 'complete' our text books so that they teach more than the European American immigrant and citizen experience. We are one of the most diverse (if not the most diverse) country in the world and you'd think that there were only people of European descent here, according to our text books. These women are all in my pantheon of 'heroes'. We need them more today than ever to guide us as our democracy faces the same pressures that push us away from equality that is has struggled with for 300 years.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tina Izguerra

    Martha S. Jones' "Vanguard" is an essential and much-needed history on the black women's movement for equality. We've all read plenty about the suffragettes but nothing, and I mean nothing has ever been taught in the classroom about the role of black women during this period. "Vanguard" attempts to fill this gap, ushering in a new era in which the ENTIRE story of women's rights can be learned through the eyes of black women, rather than the white perspective. It is very well written, and I look Martha S. Jones' "Vanguard" is an essential and much-needed history on the black women's movement for equality. We've all read plenty about the suffragettes but nothing, and I mean nothing has ever been taught in the classroom about the role of black women during this period. "Vanguard" attempts to fill this gap, ushering in a new era in which the ENTIRE story of women's rights can be learned through the eyes of black women, rather than the white perspective. It is very well written, and I look forward to purchasing the book when it is released.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mia

    I did not finish this book. I just stopped reading it. The author has tried to bring focus to unrepresented women, but her way of presenting them is highly unsatisfactory. She is constantly adding feelings to her portraits, fear or nervousness before a public speech, imaginary talismans of good luck and other rubbish that adds nothing to the history. If she had done a more scholarly presentation, her work would be much more compelling. The book is irritating in its lack of rigor.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    My issue with this book is likely not the author's fault. Due to the paucity of recorded history about black women, there was not much content to share about each individual that the author wrote about. It ended up being a quick survey or overview of a lot of different women, which made it difficult for me as the reader to retain the information. I would have preferred a deeper dive on a few individuals with more connective tissue linking their stories together. My issue with this book is likely not the author's fault. Due to the paucity of recorded history about black women, there was not much content to share about each individual that the author wrote about. It ended up being a quick survey or overview of a lot of different women, which made it difficult for me as the reader to retain the information. I would have preferred a deeper dive on a few individuals with more connective tissue linking their stories together.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    The African American Women’s quest to organize and vote is a road travelled for over two hundred years. The book documents the struggle, the perseverance, and determination of black women to prevail in achieving equality. The book gives you historical dates, and names and organizations of black women in their struggle, with some successes, and with the enduring guts of pursuing their equality and voting goals.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Aarti

    Great history of how black women have fought for rights for themselves and others over centuries in the United States. Often at great risk to themselves and with very little hope of success. Important to keep that perspective in these trying times. Nice companion to A Black Women’s History of the United States.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Woolner

    The subject is interesting to me. I had watched the author speak during the book launch and I found her stories very engaging. The book was less engaging for me but still worthwhile. I'm glad I read it. The subject is interesting to me. I had watched the author speak during the book launch and I found her stories very engaging. The book was less engaging for me but still worthwhile. I'm glad I read it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Susan Dietz

    An important addition to the history of women winning the right vote that has been under-emphasized to say the least. Jones starts with the stories from her own family but produced a work of for all daughters.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Erricka Hager

    4.5 ✨ Such a timely read considering what happened in the 2020 election. Black women are magic!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    This is a fantastic, informative read about the amazing power of Black women - specifically, how they fought tirelessly and against all odds and countless barriers to win the right to vote. I truly admire the research that went into this book: particularly when writing about slavery, post-slavery, and early 20th century suffrage work, Jones does an excellent job at weaving a narrative that is based in the historical record despite that information being extremely limited. For example, some of th This is a fantastic, informative read about the amazing power of Black women - specifically, how they fought tirelessly and against all odds and countless barriers to win the right to vote. I truly admire the research that went into this book: particularly when writing about slavery, post-slavery, and early 20th century suffrage work, Jones does an excellent job at weaving a narrative that is based in the historical record despite that information being extremely limited. For example, some of the items she has to go off of are as sparse as recognitions for donations or agendas for community meetings. I love the "Insisted on Equality for All" component of the subtitle. Black women were always shoved aside for some reason or another, even and especially by white women or Black men, who themselves were struggling to gain suffrage and equal rights. There were several times that Black women were excluded on the basis of "Let's get white women the right to vote first, then we'll focus on Black women," or "Getting women the right to vote is one thing, but when you bring race into it, it just becomes too complicated or too controversial." Despite always being told that their time will come and to wait their turn for someone else to gain rights first, Black women leaders rarely did that to others. Instead, they pushed for inclusivity for all, recognizing that the fight for their rights goes hand-in-hand with the rights of other diverse groups. Their tireless struggle aimed to not only open the door for themselves, but for all women of color. In the early days of suffrage, Black women around the US put on voter education workshops and citizenship clinics to prepare women for the many obstacles they would face when trying to vote. Even now, we see Black women like Stacey Abrams (and many, many other Georgian Black women) championing GOTV efforts in areas where there is rampant voter suppression - with amazing results. Although this book could be a bit dense at times - frankly, it is fairly academic writing - but the subject matter is fascinating and showcases many, many names that you've likely never heard before. These efforts deserve to be publicized and put in history books, especially because so many of these women never received recognition for the important work they did, neither during their time or now. I encourage everyone to pick up this book!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Margaret D'Anieri

    Yet again my ignorance of history is exposed ... while I know a fair amount about the civil rights movement, I had no idea of the organizing by Black women over more than a century before Rosa Parks; no idea of the ways women built schools and clubs, and fought for leadership roles in churches that gave them platforms to speak and empower. I live near Oberlin College, and knew of its history as the first college to admit regardless of gender and “race”, but never knew how it was a place for POC Yet again my ignorance of history is exposed ... while I know a fair amount about the civil rights movement, I had no idea of the organizing by Black women over more than a century before Rosa Parks; no idea of the ways women built schools and clubs, and fought for leadership roles in churches that gave them platforms to speak and empower. I live near Oberlin College, and knew of its history as the first college to admit regardless of gender and “race”, but never knew how it was a place for POC and particularly women to become educated leaders of abolition and suffrage movements.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Gabrielle

    It is no secret that Black women are change agents and essentially save us all when it comes to the ballot box. (And literally everything else, but I digress.) In a nutshell, Vanguard is a fact sheet that shows we are not new to this, we are true to this. Some may look at Stacey Abrams and Latosha Brown wonder how they were able to do what they did in 2020 and Dr. Jones proved that they've learned from generations of Black women activists and suffragists. I cannot say enough about how necessary It is no secret that Black women are change agents and essentially save us all when it comes to the ballot box. (And literally everything else, but I digress.) In a nutshell, Vanguard is a fact sheet that shows we are not new to this, we are true to this. Some may look at Stacey Abrams and Latosha Brown wonder how they were able to do what they did in 2020 and Dr. Jones proved that they've learned from generations of Black women activists and suffragists. I cannot say enough about how necessary and thorough this book is for understanding women's history, voting rights, and political activism in the US. Highly recommended.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Jones guides readers through more than 200 years of Black women’s activism. While this book is comprehensive, it also reads as an invitation to explore each woman’s life in greater depth. Familiar names like Harriet Tubman and Rosa Parks appear, but readers also will learn more about less well-known women whose stories deserve to be told. Several things struck me as I read. One: Black women were (and are) activists in a number of arenas, most notably their churches. This may explain why the book Jones guides readers through more than 200 years of Black women’s activism. While this book is comprehensive, it also reads as an invitation to explore each woman’s life in greater depth. Familiar names like Harriet Tubman and Rosa Parks appear, but readers also will learn more about less well-known women whose stories deserve to be told. Several things struck me as I read. One: Black women were (and are) activists in a number of arenas, most notably their churches. This may explain why the book was chosen for the Reading Program. As they built skills in one organization, they applied them to their work elsewhere. Second: Black women’s advocacy has never been about a single issue. They worked for the right to vote so they would have a say in issues such as worker’s rights, education, public health, and prison reform. Finally, Black women have always seen their activism as work on behalf of the wider community, not just their individual interests.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Naomi Satake

    Only a couple credits away from a Minor in Critical Gender Studies in 2010 and not a drop of this information was presented to me — wow! This book is well researched and seems to serve as a primer for the subject matter, while never getting too academic to put you to sleep. Would be good to use in curriculum to round out the overwhelmingly white women’s rights story. Side note: I listened via Audiobook and wasn’t a huge fan of the voice actor’s presentation

  29. 4 out of 5

    Joni Paranka

    Essential history that I'm embarrassed to have missed in my education. I learned a great deal about the many hard working bright minds who fought (and continue to fight) for voting rights over the years. It's a right I've taken for granted my entire life & I'm in awe of work these women have done over the years. Essential history that I'm embarrassed to have missed in my education. I learned a great deal about the many hard working bright minds who fought (and continue to fight) for voting rights over the years. It's a right I've taken for granted my entire life & I'm in awe of work these women have done over the years.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kara Merry

    Brilliant book

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