Skip to main content


National Votes for Women Trail
Event, People, Site
72 Fifth Avenue, 5th Avenue, New York, NY, USA
40.7355761, -73.9943661
Grant Recipient
National Collaborative for Women's History Sites
Historic Marker




The Crisis magazine was founded in 1910 by W.E.B. Du Bois as the official publication of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). It grew into a highly influential magazine with a nationwide readership. By February 1914, the magazine, along with the NAACP, had moved into offices at 70 Fifth Avenue in New York City. Both were previously located in the Evening Post Annex on Vesey Street in New York City. Requiring more space, the NAACP moved into a suite of four offices on the eleventh floor of the 70 Fifth Avenue building and The Crisis into a suite of six offices on the fifth floor of the building. As of 2022, the 70 Fifth Avenue building belongs to the New School, a private research university in New York City.

Despite the unequal treatment of Black women activists within the women’s suffrage movement, The Crisis supported women’s suffrage, publishing pro-suffrage articles and encouraging their male readers to vote yes on suffrage ballot measures that would secure women’s right to vote. The August 1915 edition of The Crisis included, “Votes for Women: A Symposium by Leading Thinkers of Colored America,” showcasing the support held for women’s suffrage among prominent and influential Black women and men in America. Contributors to the symposium were suffragists and activists, including Mary Burnett Talbert, Nannie Helen Burroughs, Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin, Anna H. Jones, and Mary Church Terrell. Their contributions highlighted the unequal treatment Black women faced in their fight for the right to vote.

Educator and suffrage leader Mary Burnett Talbert contributed the article, “Women and Colored Women” to the symposium on women’s suffrage published in the August 1915 edition of The Crisis. Talbert was a leader in the fight for equal rights for women and would go on to serve as president of the National Association of Colored Women from 1916 to 1920. She began her piece for the suffrage symposium by pointing out the unequal treatment that Black women suffragists experienced and the prejudice that they faced in the fight for the ballot:

“It should not be necessary to struggle forever against popular prejudice, and with us as colored women, this struggle becomes two-fold, first, because we are women and second, because we are colored women. Although some resistance is experienced in portions of our country against the ballot for women, because colored women will be included, I firmly believe that enlightened men, are now numerous enough everywhere to encourage this just privilege of the ballot for women, ignoring prejudice of all kinds.”

Educator and activist Nannie Helen Burroughs penned “Black Women and Reform” as part of The Crisis suffrage symposium. She provided insight into her perspective as a Black woman working in the women’s suffrage movement, highlighting the prejudice present within the movement:

“I was asked by a southern white woman who is an enthusiastic worker for ‘votes for (white) women,’ ‘What can the Negro woman do with the ballot?’ I asked her, ‘What can she do without it?'”

Burroughs concluded that the right to vote would give Black women “respect and protection” and referred to the ballot as a “weapon of moral defense.”

In addition to publishing articles written by Black suffragists that provided insight into their experiences within the suffrage movement, The Crisis editorial pages urged their male readers to vote yes on women’s suffrage ballot measures. In November 1915, when the question of women’s suffrage was being put before voters in New York State, The Crisis encouraged Black voters in the state to vote yes on the proposed women’s suffrage amendment to the state constitution. However, the proposed amendment was defeated at the polls that year. In November 1917, women’s suffrage went before New York voters once again. The November 1917 edition of The Crisis again urged Black voters to support the measure, not only in New York State, but across the country whenever possible:

“It is, therefore, of the utmost importance that every single black voter in the State of New York should this month cast his ballot in favor of woman suffrage and that every black voter in the United States should do the same thing whenever and as often as he has opportunity.”

That November, New York voters finally approved a women’s suffrage amendment to the state constitution and women obtained the right to vote in the state, a major achievement for the suffrage movement.

Victory in New York helped to influence public support for women’s suffrage on a national scale, and on June 4, 1919, the United States Congress passed the Nineteenth Amendment which states, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” By August 1920, the necessary 36 states had ratified the amendment, securing women’s right to vote across the United States.