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The Role of Women in Tennessee Elections In Tennessee in 1919 women were recruiting the votes of other women to vote for the first time In Nashville suffragists who had been working for many years for this right hastily organized women to register and as part of their of the preparation for their first election struck a rare alliance with African American women leaders There was a political agreement between the two groups white women suffragists and African American women leaders Black women of Tennessee would turn out and vote and in return the white women would support a number of specific social services to the African American community This was a practical mutually satisfactory and altogether surprising alliance This is an example of the effort it takes to break through racial barriers to even limited biracial cooperation The Nashville alliance suggests that there was an alternative to the bitter race relations of the postwar years This alternative was due to the development of African American womens organizations which gained more influence because of the connections black women had with white women of the Methodist Womens Missionary Society In a time where black men had already lost meaningful political influence as citizens voters and members of the Republican Party black women had taken an activist role establishing programs in their communities and seeking allies to establish power in government Black women joined suffrage ranks because they were convinced it was important to vote in order to protect their interests and because the saw suffrage as a part of a strategy for racial progress White suffragists started this alliance because they believed in suffrage as an important cause and because they too had a political agenda The alliance between these two groups is odd for a number of reasons During this time there were many racial problems Many lynching and brutal assaults had occurred due to the racial problems that had accelerated by World War
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