It was the most ungrateful and unjust act ever perpetrated by a republic upon a class of citizens who had worked and sacrificed and suffered as did the women of this nation in the struggle of the Civil War only to be rewarded at its close by such unspeakable degradation as to be reduced to the plane of subjects to enfranchised slaves.
Anna Howard Shaw (1847–1919), U.S. minister, suffragist, and speaker; born in England. As quoted in History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 5 ch. 6, by Ida Husted Harper (1922).
Speaking in February 1906 before the thirty-eighth annual convention of the National Woman Suffrage Association. At the time Shaw said this, typical attitudes toward African American men were very different than they are today. This statement would not have sounded as illiberal in 1906 as it does now. Most suffragists had been staunch foes of slavery and had supported the Union during the Civil War; many were still bitter that, despite this record, they remained disfranchised even after African American men were granted suffrage by the 15th Amendment to the Constitution (1870).