Rights for Women: The Suffrage Movement and Its Leaders

Sue Shelton White (1887-1943)

Sue Shelton White made a reputation for herself as a militant suffragist, a skilled organizer, a talented lawyer, and a proficient administrator during her long career with woman’s rights and the Democratic Party. White got involved in Tennessee suffrage clubs before choosing to join the National Woman’s Party, believing it would be more inclusive of the South. She tried to bridge the two national suffrage parties and mitigate the differences between the two, but ultimately had to pick her alliance.

As a member of the NWP she edited The Suffragist in 1919 and often downplayed the actions of its members in her articles. She was imprisoned, along with twenty-five other women, for burning an effigy of President Wilson in 1919. Although this was her most radical act, she gained a reputation as a militant suffragist. Shelton earned her law degree in 1923 and helped to draft the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Rebuffed in her attempts to have Hoover endorse the ERA, White left the NWP shortly thereafter. White remained concerned with the welfare of women as she shifted her focus as a talented New Deal administrator with positions on the National Recovery Administration and then the Social Security Board.

White
Sue Shelton White, Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, (mnwp 158006)

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