Come Together

Thousands of suffragists worked together in living rooms and churches, club rooms and offices, to advance their cause.

Like women across the country, suffragists in Minnesota were “joiners.” The Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association attracted members. So did the Minnesota Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs and the state branch of the Congressional Union. Many other organizations emerged in the Twin Cities and across the state.

Suffragists joined clubs that matched their beliefs. Many belonged to several clubs. Anti-suffragists did the same thing. It wasn’t unusual for two women who disagreed about voting rights for women to find themselves aligned on other causes.

A woman needed passion to join a suffrage club, but she also needed time away from home, work, and family to volunteer. She often needed to contribute money through dues or fundraisers. She needed to get to meetings too far away for walking. Some clubs restricted membership based on race or ethnicity. For these reasons and more, middle- and upper-class white women were prominent in the suffrage movement in Minnesota and across the nation.

They weren’t the only women who cared about the right to vote, though. Don’t imagine the suffrage movement as all women marching as one. Instead, imagine groups of women moving forward on paths that sometimes intersected.

Four women standing with two holding a petition together.

Bertha Moller, second from left, holding a petition. National Woman’s Party headquarters, Washington, DC, September 1918. Courtesy Library of Congress.

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