"Hon. John T. Ashcraft Writes on Woman Suffrage and the Negro."


Civil Rights


A July 10, 1919 letter to the Florence Herald written by Florence attorney, industrialist and lifelong Democrat the Hon. John T. Ashcraft (1859-1920) answering the objections of a "notable Alabamian" who was opposed to passage of the Women's Suffrage Amendment to the US Constitution on the grounds that, "As long as there is always danger that Congress, especially under republican [sic] rule, will insist that the South permit the negroes [sic] to vote or suffer a reduction in its representation, the question of equal suffrage should be left to the independent and voluntary action of the states." In other words, enfranchising women would at the same time also increase the number of black voters, which would tip the scales too far towards a black majority of voters. To which Mr. Ashcraft replied in part:

"Under our Constitution the right to vote is secured to every intelligent and industrious male citizen whether he be white or black. It protects the franchise against the invasion of the lawless and worthless whether he be white or black. The republicans [sic] of the North are making no threats or complaints against our present suffrage requirements . . . Yes, we will extend the suffrage to women on the same condition as to men. Today we extend it to negro [sic] men on precisely the same condition we extend it to white men and we stand ready to extend it also to white women and to negro [sic] women on the same conditions. We intend to deal fairly with both races and both sexes an[d] to maintain those noble provisions of our Constitution which invite every citizen, male or female, white or black, to learn how to read and write our Constitution, to seek profitable employment, and to acquire a home. When these qualities are manifested then we extend to all alike the high privileges of the ballot."


Hon. John T. Ashcraft


Florence Herald
Florence Times (Photo)




Lee Freeman


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Hon. John T. Ashcraft Writes on Woman Suffrage and the Negro FH Thu Jul 10 1919 p 1.jpg
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Hon. John T. Ashcraft, “"Hon. John T. Ashcraft Writes on Woman Suffrage and the Negro.",” Shoals Black History, accessed February 29, 2024, https://shoalsblackhistory.omeka.net/items/show/1110.