About the National Archives

Welcome Remarks for Unceasing Militant: The Life of Mary Church Terrell

Greetings from the National Archives. I’m David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and it's my pleasure to welcome you to this virtual book talk with Alison M. Parker, author of Unceasing Militant: The Life of Mary Church Terrell.

This is our last program for 2020. I encourage you to regularly check our calendar on Archives.gov as we continue our schedule of virtual programming in 2021. In the meantime, you can revisit our past programs on our YouTube channel.

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Last August, the National Archives, along with the nation, observed the centennial of the 19th Amendment, a milestone in women’s voting rights. For more than a year leading up to this anniversary, we explored the story of woman suffrage through exhibits, social media campaigns, articles, education programs, and more.

Our cornerstone exhibit, Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote, tells the story of women’s struggle for voting rights as a critical step toward equal citizenship. The activism of thousands of women of diverse backgrounds was essential in the fight to ultimately pass the 19th Amendment. The exhibit looks beyond the familiar names to explore how American women across the spectrum of race, ethnicity, and class advanced the cause of suffrage, and follows the struggle for voting rights beyond 1920.

Mary Church Terrell, a notable Black leader in the suffrage movement and founding member of the National Association of Colored Women, was one of the women featured during our observance of the centennial of the 19th Amendment. In the first part of the 20th century, Terrell worked tirelessly not just for women’s voting rights but for civil rights for all persons, and I look forward to hearing more about  Terrell’s story from today’s guest author, Alison Parker.

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Joining Alison Parker in conversation today is Nikki Brown, who is an associate professor of history and of African American and Africana Studies at the University of Kentucky. She works on African American history and visual culture of the 20th century, as well as race and representation, global feminism, and gender studies. Brown has written several articles on African American women's politics in the Progressive Era and the impact of racial segregation laws on contemporary American politics. Her book, Private Politics and Public Voices: African American Women’s Politics from World War I to the New Deal, explored the attempts made by African American women to shape public policy between 1915 and 1920.

Alison M. Parker is history department chair and Richards Professor of American History at the University of Delaware. She has research and teaching interests at the intersections of gender, race, disability, citizenship and the law in U.S. history, and was an Andrew W. Mellon Advanced Fellow at the James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference at Emory University. In addition to Unceasing Militant, Parker is the author of Articulating Rights: Nineteenth-Century American Women on Race, Reform, and the State and Purifying America: Women, Cultural Reform, and Pro-Censorship Activism, 1873–1933. Parker serves as the founding editor of the Gender and Race in American History book series for the University of Rochester Press.

Now let’s turn to Alison Parker and Nikki Brown. Thank you for joining us today.