Browse Social Movements

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Name Description Founding year Related works
American Anti-Slavery Society Radical abolitionist organization committed to the immediate emancipation of slaves. Led by William Lloyd Garrison, the organization split in 1839 over the participation of women at antislavery conventions. Women co... Radical abolitionist organization committed to the immediate emancipation of slaves. Led by William Lloyd Garrison, the organization split in 1839 over the participation of women at antislavery conventions. Women continued to play a leading role in the Society until it disbanded in 1870, following the abolition of slavery and the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment providing suffrage for black men. Show more Show less 1833 1
American Equal Rights Association Equal Rights organization that lobbied for black and woman's suffrage and paid particular attention to the plight of black women. The Association's leaders worked to expand the attention paid to black male suffrage... Equal Rights organization that lobbied for black and woman's suffrage and paid particular attention to the plight of black women. The Association's leaders worked to expand the attention paid to black male suffrage in this period to women. The Association found that many abolitionists were willing to abandon woman suffrage on strategic grounds and focus their efforts entirely on winning the vote for black men. Show more Show less 1866 1
American Missionary Association Founded in 1839, the American Missionary Association (AMA) emerged from efforts to aid African slaves who mutinied on the Cuban slave vessel, the Amistad. The AMA was involved in a variety of programs including fore... Founded in 1839, the American Missionary Association (AMA) emerged from efforts to aid African slaves who mutinied on the Cuban slave vessel, the Amistad. The AMA was involved in a variety of programs including foreign missions for freedpeople before 1860, abolitionism, and the provision of teachers for post-civil war schools for freedpeople. Today it continues to provide education and social welfare for African Americans and other minority groups. Show more Show less 1839 2
American Woman Suffrage Association This wing of the woman suffrage movement was formed by New England women opposed to the policies of Stanton and Anthony. Led by Lucy Stone and Julia Ward Howe, the Association worked for the passage of the Fifteenth... This wing of the woman suffrage movement was formed by New England women opposed to the policies of Stanton and Anthony. Led by Lucy Stone and Julia Ward Howe, the Association worked for the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment and aligned itself closely with the Republican party. The American and the National Woman Suffrage Association (see below) merged in 1890 to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association (see entry below). Show more Show less 1869 1
Anti-Slavery Movement From the second decade of the nineteenth century until the abolition of black slavery in the United States in the 1860s, black and white women were significant actors in the anti-slavery movement. Women helped found... From the second decade of the nineteenth century until the abolition of black slavery in the United States in the 1860s, black and white women were significant actors in the anti-slavery movement. Women helped found the American Anti-Slavery Society (AASS) in 1833 as well as their own societies, such as the Oberlin Female Anti-Slavery Society. The status of women in the movement was often contentious and in 1839 the AASS divided in part because of the election of a woman, Abby Kelley Foster, to its business committee. The anti-slavery movement provided the setting for the emergence of the women’s rights movement as women abolitionists created new public spaces for themselves as public speakers. Notable women abolitionists include Lucretia Mott, Sarah and Angela Grimké, Abby Kelley Foster, and Frances Ellen Watkins Harper. Show more Show less 1820 8
Colored Woman's League Part of a larger movement of black women’s clubs aimed at improving the living conditions and status of African Americans, the Colored Woman’s League (CWL) was founded in 1892 with Hallie Q. Brown as its Secreta... Part of a larger movement of black women’s clubs aimed at improving the living conditions and status of African Americans, the Colored Woman’s League (CWL) was founded in 1892 with Hallie Q. Brown as its Secretary. The CWL participated in a series of national conventions that led to the founding of the National Association of Colored Women in 1896. Show more Show less 1892 1
General Federation of Women's Clubs Founded in 1890 by Jane Cunningham Croly, the General Federation of Women’s Clubs became one of the largest women’s organizations in the country. As President in the 1890s, Ellen Herotin developed the Federation... Founded in 1890 by Jane Cunningham Croly, the General Federation of Women’s Clubs became one of the largest women’s organizations in the country. As President in the 1890s, Ellen Herotin developed the Federation’s political and social interests. Members worked for a variety of social reforms that would benefit women and children. In 1955 membership peaked at 830,000. The Federation continues to be a significant voluntary organization today. Show more Show less 1890 1
National American Woman Suffrage Association In 1890 the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA), led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, joined Lucy Stone’s American Woman’s Suffrage Association (AWSA) to form the National American Woman Su... In 1890 the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA), led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, joined Lucy Stone’s American Woman’s Suffrage Association (AWSA) to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). The suffrage movement had split in 1869 over the issue of black male suffrage in the Fifteenth Amendment. From 1890 to 1920 when woman suffrage was finally added to the U.S. Constitution, NAWSA was the dominant national suffrage organization. Show more Show less 1890 3
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People In 1909 W.E.B. Du Bois, other participants in the Niagara Movement, women activists including Mary Church Terrell and Ida B. Wells-Barnett, and other African-American critics of Booker T. Washington united with whit... In 1909 W.E.B. Du Bois, other participants in the Niagara Movement, women activists including Mary Church Terrell and Ida B. Wells-Barnett, and other African-American critics of Booker T. Washington united with white supporters to form the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Still an important representative of African American interests, the NAACP has a long history of defending and expanding black civil rights. Show more Show less 1909 9
National Association of Colored Women In the 1890s amid increasing racial tensions a national club movement emerged among black women that led to the formation of the National Association of Colored Women (NACW) in Washington, D.C. in 1896. The first pr... In the 1890s amid increasing racial tensions a national club movement emerged among black women that led to the formation of the National Association of Colored Women (NACW) in Washington, D.C. in 1896. The first president of the NACW was Mary Church Terrell. "Lifting As We Climb" became the Association's motto, and members coordinated their efforts to improve the condition of African Americans in the United States. In 1915 more than 100,000 women were NACW members. The NACW is still active today working toward improving the lives of African American women and children. Show more Show less 1896 54
National Congress of Mothers Founded by Alice McLellan Birney in 1897, the National Congress of Mothers was the forerunner of the National Congress of Parents and Teachers. The Congress mobilized thousands of largely white, middle-class women o... Founded by Alice McLellan Birney in 1897, the National Congress of Mothers was the forerunner of the National Congress of Parents and Teachers. The Congress mobilized thousands of largely white, middle-class women on behalf of child-saving activism in the early years of the twentieth century, most notably support for mothers’ pensions. In 1924 the Congress became the National Congress of Parents and Teachers in an effort to distance itself from accusations of radical politics. Inspired by such leaders as Hannah Schoff, Congress activists also lobbied for the creation of nationwide juvenile courts in the early twentieth century. Show more Show less 1897 1
New England Woman Suffrage Association Founded in 1868, the Association concentrated its focus exclusively on woman suffrage and contributed to the emergence of the American Woman Suffrage Association (see above) to channel women reformers' support for t... Founded in 1868, the Association concentrated its focus exclusively on woman suffrage and contributed to the emergence of the American Woman Suffrage Association (see above) to channel women reformers' support for the Fifteenth Amendment. Early leaders included Lucy Stone and Isabella Beecher Hooker. Show more Show less 1868 1
Religious Society of Friends 1652 4
Temperance Movement The movement to limit the consumption of alcohol began around 1800, when alcohol consumption was at an all-time high in the United States. Sobriety became a value associated with modernizing trends that included sel... The movement to limit the consumption of alcohol began around 1800, when alcohol consumption was at an all-time high in the United States. Sobriety became a value associated with modernizing trends that included self control and individualism, and was supported by working-class as well as middle-class Protestants. Dominated by men before 1860, the temperance movement nevertheless offered women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton a forum where they developed public speaking skills. In the depression winter of 1873-74, the women’s temperance movement exploded in Ohio with public demonstrations in which women protested the effects of men’s alchohol consumption on women and families. Organized by the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), the women’s temperance movement worked closely with the woman suffrage movement and became the most important vehicle for the participation of both black and white women in public life between 1873 and 1900. Although WCTU membership remained high and their international efforts were notable after 1900, other women’s organizations emerged to shape women’s activism in the decades before 1920. The passage of the prohibition amendment to the U.S. constitution in 1919 was largely due to the efforts of men in the anti-saloon league, a much more conservative organization than the WCTU. Show more Show less 1800 2
Tuskegee Institute Founded in 1881, Tuskegee Institute is today Tuskegee University. Booker T. Washington, the Institute’s first president from 1881 until his death in 1915, exercised unprecedented power among African Americans part... Founded in 1881, Tuskegee Institute is today Tuskegee University. Booker T. Washington, the Institute’s first president from 1881 until his death in 1915, exercised unprecedented power among African Americans partly because his plan for black economic improvement without political rights was well funded by wealthy white donors. Called the "Atlanta Compromise," the plan emerged in 1895, stressing the need for practical, industrial training, such as that supplied by Tuskegee Institute, and minimizing the need for black political rights. Show more Show less 1881 11
United States. Women's Bureau The United States government created the Women's Bureau within the Department of Labor in 1920. While the Women's Bureau is concerned mostly with domestic issues, Women and Social Movements International includes do... The United States government created the Women's Bureau within the Department of Labor in 1920. While the Women's Bureau is concerned mostly with domestic issues, Women and Social Movements International includes documents published by the Women's Bureau regarding transnational and international aspects of women and policy, particularly material that engages discussions of the Western Hemisphere. Show more Show less 1920 2
Woman Suffrage Movement Between 1848, when the woman suffrage movement was launched, and 1920, when the Nineteenth Amendment gave women the right to vote, the movement mobilized 480 campaigns in state legislatures, 277 campaigns in state c... Between 1848, when the woman suffrage movement was launched, and 1920, when the Nineteenth Amendment gave women the right to vote, the movement mobilized 480 campaigns in state legislatures, 277 campaigns in state conventions, and 19 campaigns in 19 successive congresses in addition to the ratification campaign of 1919-1920. Suffrage became the major vehicle for the advancement of women in American society more generally in this period. Show more Show less 1848 2
Woman's Christian Temperance Union Founded in 1873, the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union quickly became the largest voluntary association in the United States. Working closely with the much-smaller woman suffrage movement, the WCTU endorsed woman... Founded in 1873, the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union quickly became the largest voluntary association in the United States. Working closely with the much-smaller woman suffrage movement, the WCTU endorsed woman suffrage in 1881, by which time it had become the most important vehicle for women’s participation in public life. Key to the WCTU’s prominence was Frances Willard’s leadership and her "Do Everything" policy, which enabled the Union to support a wide range of reform activities other than temperance, including prison reform, child welfare, women's employment, work among African Americans, public health, and woman suffrage. Show more Show less 1873 8
Woman's Rights Convention Movement, 1848-1869 After the first woman’s rights convention in Seneca Falls in 1848, the movement for women's rights accelerated. In 1850 the first National Woman's Rights Convention was held in Worcester, Massachusetts and similar... After the first woman’s rights convention in Seneca Falls in 1848, the movement for women's rights accelerated. In 1850 the first National Woman's Rights Convention was held in Worcester, Massachusetts and similar conventions were soon held all over the United States continuing throughout the decade. At these conventions male abolitionist leaders, including Wendell Phillips, William Lloyd Garrison, Theodore Parker and Thomas Wentworth Higginson, supported the movement while Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Stanton, the two women considered the organizers of the Seneca Falls convention, spoke at and attended many of these subsequent meetings. Show more Show less 1848 1
Women's Rights within the Anti-Slavery Movement Historians have traditionally dated the beginning of the women’s rights movement to the 1840 London World Anti-Slavery Convention, where Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton first formulated the idea for a wom... Historians have traditionally dated the beginning of the women’s rights movement to the 1840 London World Anti-Slavery Convention, where Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton first formulated the idea for a woman’s rights convention. But the connections between anti-slavery and women’s rights flourished even before this meeting through the activism of Lucretia Mott, and Angelina and Sarah Grimke, leading anti-slavery advocates. Mott’s interest in women’s rights also predated her involvement in the anti-slavery movement, as she committed herself to women’s emancipation early on in her public career as a Quaker minister and reformer. Show more Show less 1830 1
Young Women's Christian Association of the United States of America During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), named after a similar men’s organization, was organized largely by middle-class white women in cities around the nati... During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), named after a similar men’s organization, was organized largely by middle-class white women in cities around the nation who built Association boarding houses, training schools, and day nurseries to protect and provide services for single women in cities. In more recent decades the YWCA has continued a wide range of activities including shelter for women and children and support for women’s reproductive rights. Show more Show less 1858 13