The Rollin Sisters | Sisterhood: SC Suffragists - Episode 3


During this period, there were many people, including African Americans, who felt the issue of women’s suffrage was much less important than civil rights for Blacks.

 In the 1868 Constitutional Convention, future representative William J. Whipper was the only one at the convention who called for universal suffrage. The debate between African American civil rights, and women’s suffrage was a heated one. Whipper desired to have the word “male” removed, and did not expect to receive much support for this motion. Frances Rollin returns to South Carolina, with Whipper’s promise of employment. Later, Frances Rollin marries William Whipper, and becomes her husband’s most trusted political advisor.

In the spring of 1869, on behalf of the Judiciary Committee, Charlotte Rollin made a speech on the floor of the S.C. State Legislature. Her speech, in support of women’s suffrage, was the first time a women ever addressed the legislature. The committee made a motion to enfranchise women, but was denied. Charlotte later follows up with a rally on the SC State House grounds, and hosts a women’s rights convention. The Rollin family continued to grow in influence, wealth, and social status, and hosted many gatherings in their Columbia estate. Their home and salon became unofficially known as the Republican Headquarters. The Rollin Salon defied many social norms, as being a place where men and women, Black or White, could gather to discuss social and political issues.


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