Chapter 3 raises the issue of how race intersected with the constitutional development of the Nineteenth Amendment. It argues that the immediate pivot of the National Woman’s Party (NWP), to a federal equal rights amendment, played a significant role in the failure of enforcement legislation to be enacted by Congress. The chapter explores the fear of a “Second Reconstruction,” by white southern congressmen, as an element in that story. And it suggests that the NWP’s failure to support African American women suffragists, and white NWP members who were co-founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), was both a moral and a strategic failing. That choice, animated by concerns around white southern political support for the proposed equal rights amendment, contributed to the failure of enforcement legislation. The chapter links the lack of such legislation to the absence of a federal judicial forum, in which to more fully develop the meaning and scope of the Nineteenth Amendment.
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