Nannie Helen Burroughs

The Negro Woman and Suffrage - June 15, 1923

Nannie Helen Burroughs
June 15, 1923
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Miss N H Burroughs


There are dangers ahead. Politics afford an opportunity for exploitation and bargaining. The unscrupulous and unworthy are enrolled in all political parties and constitute the real danger or menace because they can be bought and sold.

White women are learning the political game. They are not as keen as they look. In the fight for reforms, they are overlooking or undervaluing their greatest moral asset - the Negro woman. The Negro woman neglected or ignored is the greatest political menace with which the white woman will have to contend. Adopted into the political family and educated, the Negro woman will become the safest and most valuable ally; neglected, she will become an enemy and a menace.

The safety and security of the political future of white and colored women depend on how wise white women are in calling into counil and accepting into service, Negro women. Get the best in character, the most unselfish and successful in the services of their race, and the new politicians (white women) will get somewhere and they will find the colored woman a tower of strength - their safest ally.

The present attitude on the part of white women to ignore or undervalue the colored woman, or to accept Negro women who are picked by Tom, Dick or Harry, forebodes evil and ill for both groups. What the white women who are political leaders of their race - white women of class and culture - must do to safeguard the interests of both races, morally and politically, is to select Negro women of education, culture, ability and class - those who are above political and social price - and give them place in their party councils and conferences.

Again and again, we hear it said that colored people do not agree among themselves as to who shall lead them politically - that they are all clamoring for leadership. The women who have pushed themselves forward into the political arena during the past three or four years, for the most part, are women who are absolutely without followers in their own race.

If white women would take the time to investigate - use some common sense - use their eyes - demand evidence - they would not make such colossal blunders. As a general thing, the people they select to lead would not get into the “Also” class if colored people were consulted.

We will get results and get somewhere if the present method of selecting leaders is abandoned and Negroes requested and permitted to select the people who are to represent them. They can do it. Leave it to them!

The West Virginia Woman’s Voice

June 15th, 1923