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Du Bois and Washington on Woman Suffrage

Document 5

In December 1910, Du Bois published an article in The Crisis by Jean Milholland, mother of Inez Milholland, who at that moment was emerging as a leading suffragist and champion of social reform.

       Take, for instance, the suffrage, certainly the most vital, as well as the most important, of interests of the New Woman Movement. In this reform alone we have a complete upsetting of former social standards. We find the woman of fashion and wealth working side by side in all harmony with a sister who earns her living by working in a factory or shop. Each is so interested in procuring [obtaining] for herself, as well as for her sex, the right of political freedom, that there is neither time nor inclination for the one to think or care about the social standing of the other....

       The colored women have done their share in this march for progress and the betterment of their sex; but, as yet, their efforts seem to have been made principally within their own circle and among their own race. It is time now, however, that they come forward and help share with their white sisters their responsibilities, and seek to obtain for both recognition as citizens possessed of political rights....

       So it would seem a wise and progressive step for our colored women to look carefully into the question of Suffrage. Surely its value as a useful weapon for bringing about not only her own enfranchisement, but also for securing to the Negro of the South the political freedom to which he is justly entitled, must appeal to her.

-- Excerpt from Mrs. John E. Milholland, "Talks About Women,"
The Crisis (December 1910)

7. What did Jean Milholland encourage African-American women to do?

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8. How did she try to convince to African-American women to get involved?

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