This article first posted on August 17, 2020 

When Tennessee ratified the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on Aug. 18, 1920, that was enough: as the 36th state to approve the amendment, the Volunteer State made sure the U.S. Constitution would enshrine into law “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”

And while this summer’s centennial is remembered as a landmark moment in history for American women, 1920 only tells part of the story. The ratification did not mean that all American women gained the constitutional right to vote immediately in 1920; numerous barriers to voting remained for several communities, including Black women, Native American and Indigenous women, Asian American women and Latinx women. African American women and men’s voting rights would not be incorporated into the country’s law until Voting Rights Act of 1965.

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