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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Bishop Otey and the enslaved

On July 31 (today's date) 1842 Bishop James H. Otey of the Episcopal Church baptized his own infant son at St. Peter's Church in Columbia, Maury County, TN. At the same time, he also baptized two African American children - an infant boy named Charles and a girl named Rebecca. They were the children of a woman named Hannah. I believe that all three were enslaved by Bishop Otey. He is known to have enslaved people during his time as a priest in Franklin, Columbia and Memphis, Tennessee.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

How the Suffrage Movement Betrayed Black Women

This NY Times editorial - How the Suffrage Movement Betrayed Black Women - explains an important piece of often overlooked history. 

What’s significant to recognize is that some white women thought gaining the vote was a way to preserve white political power by adding to the numbers of white voters and continuing the suppression of the black vote through education tests and poll taxes.

Nashville, TN Suffragette, Anne Dallas Dudley, identified often as Mrs. Guilford Dudley, helped assuage fears re: the "negro problem” or what she also called the "menace of the negro vote" this way: "It is true that there are some counties in the south where Negroes greatly predominate. But it is also true that in those counties, there is a greater degree of illiteracy, and the educational qualification operates to exclude the vote. There is no need to fear that the southern men and women of today will not know how to uphold the integrity of their government. We are not living in the reconstructon period, but in the year of our Lord 1918. The horrors of that period are past, never to be revived. The only possible approach to it might come through the failure to give the white women of the South the power of the ballot."

As we begin to celebrate the 100th anniversary of (white) women gaining the right to vote, we need to remember those left behind.