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Black Women's Christian ActivismSeeking Social Justice in a Northern Suburb$
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Betty Livingston Adams

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780814745465

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814745465.001.0001

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“Putting Real American Ideals in American Life”

“Putting Real American Ideals in American Life”

Church Women and Electoral Politics

(p.105) 5 “Putting Real American Ideals in American Life”
Black Women's Christian Activism

Betty Livingston Adams

NYU Press

This chapter focuses on church women in the electoral process where they carved alternative roles as politicians. Having tried for decades to effect progressive social reforms, by 1920, with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, New Jersey’s black women were organized for action. In 1922 they formed Colored Women’s Republican Clubs and over the next decade and a half mobilized a political machine. Even as they allied with white women on key legislation, their particular issues led them beyond feminist and maternalist agendas to a focus on civil rights. Though their political behavior often branded them as Republican Party loyalists, black women’s political ideals rested on Christian principles. The Republican Party and its candidates did not reward their work or support their agenda, and thus lost their votes; they voted for jobs and justice in the Democratic realignment of 1936.

Keywords:   civil rights, Colored Women’s Republican Clubs, Democratic realignment, feminist agenda, maternalist agenda, Nineteenth Amendment, progressive social reforms, Republican Party

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