Votes for Women: The Story of Carrie Chapman Catt
Barbara A. Somerville
Ages 12 and up
Morgan Reynolds, 2003, 1-883846-96-X
From the very beginning Carrie was the kind of girl who simply would not accept that she could not do what she wanted to do. She wanted to go to college and so she did. Of course she had to accept having to take courses she despised but she was also a force for change creating a literary society for students, and unlike so many other similar societies, this one allowed women to speak out when they wished to.
This was just the beginning for Carrie. When she began her career as a journalist she began to discover that there was a group of women working very hard, in the background, trying to get women the rights that they deserved. These women inspired Carrie to join the suffragist movement. At that time in America women could not own property, they could not keep any wages they earned, and they could not have custody of their children in the event of a divorce. The suffragists felt that the only way that these laws were going to be changed was if women had a voice in government – if women had the vote.
Carrie was to become one of the most powerful speakers the movement had. She crossed the country again and again giving speeches in barns, conventions, in schools, and railway depots. Later Carrie traveled overseas to talk to women in other countries, eager to discover how women in Europe, Africa, and Asia were faring in their struggle to get the vote.
In the end Carrie was one of the lucky ones for she was able to see the results of her labors. Unlike her colleagues Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Carrie was able to see the passage of the 19th Amendment which gave women the vote.
This excellent biography gives the reader a very clear picture of what Carrie Chapman Catt was like. It is hard to imagine how the women’s rights movement would have fared without her energy, her dedication, her courage, her determination, and her generous heart. Girls and women today can give thanks that Carrie was there at that crucial time to give the movement the push it needed to make success possible.
This is one of the titles in the “Feminist Voices” series.
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