Clubwomen, The Pollitzer Sisters & The Vote, Part 2 | Sisterhood: SC Suffragists - Episode 2


Beginning in 1899, the Poppenheim sisters published a monthly magazine called The Keystone. The magazine pointed out the manner in which the Confederate “Lost Cause” movement celebrated the Confederacy and suffused White middle and upper class society. This club movement by both Black and White middle class women were parallel; out of this particular movement came offshoots which dealt with suffrage. Marion Bernie Wilkinson of Charleston, SC became the most important Black club woman in the state. Wilkinson founded the SC Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs in 1909, which becomes an important organization in the state. Wilkinson was also active in the National Association of Colored Women, and very involved in a network of Black professional women who led reform efforts in cities across the U.S.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the national movement for women’s suffrage surged ahead. The day before President Woodrow Wilson’s first inauguration, a parade held in Washington, D.C. brought new inspiration and attention to the call for a constitutional amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote. This led to a new generation of South Carolina women to advocate for the vote.