Equal Suffrage and the Negro Vote flyer, ca.1915

Collections in the Classroom

Grade Level

High, Middle

Time Period

1900-1950: Early 20th Century


African American History, Civil rights, Jim Crow, Suffrage

Resource Type

Primary Source

Download Collections in the Classroom: Equal Suffrage and the Negro Vote (pdf)


  • Who gets to vote? Who decides that?
  • Who is the audience for this flyer circa 1915?
  • Why was the flyer created?


The Equal Suffrage League (ESL) of Virginia was created in 1909 to get a state amendment passed granting women the right to vote. Around 1915, anti-suffragists argued that African-American women would dominate at the polls if legislators voted for women’s suffrage. The all-white ESL issued this handbill with a counterargument, claiming that allowing women to vote “would increase white supremacy.” Some ESL members privately expressed concern about the treatment of African-American women. But, publicly the group tried to use racism to their advantage, arguing that “we are secure from negro domination.” The state amendment never passed, but a federal amendment gave women the vote in 1920.