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Ida B. Wells and Frederick Douglass Remembered During Rose Bowl Parade
January 2 – January 15, 2020

A Rose Bowl float celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the United States Constitution’s 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, marched in Pasadena, California on New Year’s Day carrying descendants of famous American suffragettes and civil rights leaders including descendents of Frederick Douglass (Kenneth B. Morris, Jr) and Ida B. Wells (Michelle Duster), both of whom Port Of Harlem interviewed. 

The “Bouquet of Descendants” also included descendants of  Harriet Tubman (Ernestine Wyatt), Elizabeth Cady Stanton (Coline Jenkins),  and Susan B. Anthony (Marci Magnatta). The float won the title of best theme float.

Duster talked to Port Of Harlem about her current work in advancing women’s rights.  “My way of contributing to women’s rights is to make sure Black women, in particular, are seen and remembered in our country’s history,” said Duster. “I have been working with a committee since 2008 to build a monument to honor my great grandmother Ida B Wells in Chicago,” she continued.

The Chicago monument will be in the city where the Ida B. Wells housing project once stood. Duster is also working with groups that are unveiling monuments that will include Wells in Memphis in March 2020 and another in Fairfax, VA in August 2020.

Earlier in 2019, Port Of Harlem interviewed Morris, who is a descendent of Douglass and Booker T. Washington. “We want young people to start thinking critically about their condition,” proclaimed Morris after explaining how Douglass learned how to read and began questioning his condition as an enslaved person.  The interview is in our archived article Frederick Douglass’ Descendant Urges Education and Critical Thinking.

On June 4, 1919, the 19th Amendment gave women the equal right to vote, however some groups of voters were still not recognized until later. In 1924 Native Americans were given the right to vote, in 1943 Chinese Americans, in 1965 the Voting Rights Act protected racial minorities, and in 1971, the 23rd Amendment gave the vote to those 18 years of age and over.

Note:  See more about the professional relationship between Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony.

Note: The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives recently updated the Voting Rights Act. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania was the only Republican to vote with the Democrats. The legislation is unlikely to receive a vote in the Republican-controlled Senate.
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