Transcript: Letter from Alice Paul to the Editor of the NAACP Branch

“Reproduced from the Collections of the Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, scanned from Watkinson Library, Trinity College, Hartford Studies Project – Transcription of letter from Alice Paul, national chairman of the National Woman’s Party to the editor of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, on March 30, 1919.”

National Woman’s Party

National Headquarters, Lafayette Square

Washington, D. C.

March 30, 1919


Editor, Branch Bulletin,

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

70 Fifth Avenue

New York City.

Dear Sir:

My attention has been called to an article in your March Bulletin, attributing to me an interview in the New York Times, concerning the vote of negro women in South Carolina.


I have not seen the article in the Times to which your Bulletin makes reference, and do not know its source.  I have had no interview with the Times on this subject.

The National Woman’s Party works for but one object – the securing of an amendment to the United States Constitution, enfranchising women.  This amendment would prevent the debarring of any one from voting on the ground of sex, but would not interfere with any other franchise regulations made by the states.  Whatever franchise conditions apply in the states to men, would, after the passage of this amendment, apply to women also.

Since a previous amendment to the Constitution has forbidden disenfranchisement on the ground of race and color, that question is already settled, and would not in any way be affected by the proposed woman suffrage amendment.

The resolution introduced by Senator Jones, to which your article refers, was designed to meet the parliamentary difficulty arising from the ruling, prepared by the Parliamentarian of the Senate that the Anthony Amendment could not, after

Its defeat, in February, be reintroduced in the same form.  While this parliamentary objection might have been overruled in time, it presented an obstacle to speedy action.  In order to secure its reintroduction, verbal changes were made and it was reintroduced by Senator Jones, in a form which did not, as far as we could ascertain, change the substance of the original Amendment, but which made sufficient change in the form to permit its reintroduction.

We hope that in the future you will write to us for information concerning the national suffrage amendment when you plan to discuss it in your Bulletin, in order that misunderstandings such as occurred in the March issue, may be avoided.

In closing may I say that women who are struggling for political freedom, feel a sincere regret that the negro, whose enfranchisement women helped to win, should now that his own enfranchisement has been obtained, speak with sarcasm, as in this article in your Bulletin, of the campaign for the franchise which women are still conducting.  It shows little comprehension of the battle which women are waging for political liberty to characterize as “pranks before the White House”, their protests against disenfranchisement which have brought upon them sentences of imprisonment for terms as long as seven months.

Very truly yours,

Alice Paul

National Chairman.