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A Kansas City event will honor the local Black women who fought for suffrage

Three women sit around a table in a radio studio. Each is near a microphone. The woman at left is talking. The others are looking at her and listening.
Carlos Moreno
KCUR 89.3
Organizers Millie Edwards Nottingham (left), Carmaletta Williams and Alice Kitchen speak about their event, "Making History: KC's Black Suffragists and Jazz Artists," to be held this Sunday from 3-5 at the Gem Theater.

Women gained the right to vote in 1920. But Black women didn't get the full right until 1965, even though they'd been involved in the fight since the 1800s. That's the topic of an event in Kansas City this Sunday honoring local Black suffragists.

Many Black women didn't truly gain the right to vote until the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, but they had been involved in the fight for suffrage since the 1800s. An event this weekend during Kansas City's Spotlight: Charlie Parker festival will remember that history.

"Making History: KC's Black Suffragists and Jazz Artists"will honor 12 women who advocated for Black women to vote in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Suffragist history will be told alongside performances from jazz artists Pam Baskin-Watson, Millie Edwards Nottingham and Lisa Henry, as well as the Kansas City Women's Chorus and the Kansas City Girls Choir.

"History often lets us forget the struggles," said Carmaletta Williams, CEO of the Black Archives of Mid-America. "Forget the people who were in the trenches... forget those boots on the ground... and so we have to remember them."

"Making History: KC's Black Suffragists and Jazz Artists" will take place Sunday, August 27 at 3 p.m. at the Gem Theater. The event is free and open to the public.

  • Millie Edwards Nottingham, jazz vocalist
  • Carmaletta Williams, Chief Executive Officer at the Black Archives of Mid-America
  • Alice Kitchen, organizer for the event
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