Clubwomen, The Pollitzer Sisters & The Vote, Part 5 | Sisterhood: SC Suffragists

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Susan Pringle Frost, a mentor to the Pollitzer sisters, was the founder of the Charleston Equal Suffrage League. Anita Pollitzer went to work for that National American Women Suffrage Association. While there, she befriends Alice Paul, one of America’s most prominent figures for women’s suffrage in America. Paul was influenced by the more radical British suffragists, and her experiences in England fueled her advocacy for suffrage in America. Paul broke away from the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) to form the more militant National Woman’s Party (NWP). The NWP was publicly chastised in America for putting women’s rights before war efforts during World War I.  In 1919, the NWP led a campaign by train to urge political leaders to support women’s suffrage; Anita Pollitzer made sure the campaign’s first stop was Charleston, SC.

Leaders throughout the U.S. became horrified at the horrendous treatment NWP suffragists went through in prison. This helped change President Woodrow Wilson’s stance on women’s suffrage, and endorsed the vote for women. Anita Pollitzer was sent to Tennessee to urge state representative Harry Burn to vote for the 19th Amendment’s ratification. The vote in Tennessee passed, and the 19th Amendment was ratified on August 18, 1920. The right to vote could no longer be denied on basis of sex. Unfortunately, South Carolina would not ratify the 19th Amendment until 1969.

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