Rights for Women: The Suffrage Movement and Its Leaders

Kate M. Gordon (1861-1932)

Kate M. Gordon, civic leader and suffrage activist in New Orleans, was devoted to woman’s advancement. She founded the Era Club [for Equal Rights Association] in 1896 to work for the vote and civic reforms. She was secretary of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, and led the Louisiana state suffrage organization. Like many southern suffragists, she favored voting rights through state action. She formed the Southern States Woman Suffrage Conference to work against a national suffrage amendment, and her lobbying defeated the amendment in Louisiana.

In New Orleans, Gordon organized a systematic campaign that corrected the city’s inadequate water and sewage system, founded the Anti-Tuberculosis League and later a hospital to treat the disease, fought for admission of women to Tulane University, and helped establish the city’s first juvenile court. Like many southern suffragists, she feared a federal amendment would end state laws barring African-Americans from voting. As the national suffrage amendment gained momentum, she formed the Southern States Woman Suffrage Conference to work against it, and edited its newspaper the New Southern Citizen.

Gordon
Kate M. Gordon, Library of Congress, Manuscript Division (mnwp 151004)

 

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