Timeline of women's suffrage in Texas

This is a timeline of women's suffrage in Texas. Women's suffrage was brought up in Texas at the first state constitutional convention, which began in 1868. However, there was a lack of support for the proposal at the time to enfranchise women. Women continued to fight for the right to vote in the state. In 1918, women gained the right to vote in Texas primary elections. The Texas legislature ratified the 19th amendment on June 29, 1919, becoming the ninth state and the first Southern state to ratify the amendment. While white women had secured the vote, Black women still struggled to vote in Texas. In 1944, white primaries were declared unconstitutional. Poll taxes were outlawed in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965, fully enfranchising Black women voters.

Travis County women register to vote in the Texas primary election in July 1918.



  • Titus H. Mundine proposes that all people, regardless of sex, should be given the right to vote in Texas. The Texas State Constitutional Convention rejected the proposal.[1] It was considered "unwomanly" to vote by the convention.[2]






  • A women's suffrage petition authored by Sarah Grimke Wattles Hiatt from Eldorado, Texas was sent to the second Texas Constitutional Convention.[3][1] Two delegates to the convention also proposed women's suffrage, but both their efforts and the petition were ignored.[3]



Flier for a lecture by Mariana T. Folsom sponsored by the Texas Equal Rights Association. 1884.






  • All political party conventions this year hosted suffragist speakers.[3] Ellen Keller from Fort Worth argued that women, being subject to laws should be allowed to help decided these laws through the vote.[9] However, the suffragists were unsuccessful in getting equal suffrage adopted in the party platforms of the Democratic, Republican or the Populist Party in Texas.[2]
  • Beaumont, Belton, Circleville, Dallas, Fort Worth and San Antonio set up local chapters of TERA.[7]
  • TERA is divided over whether to invite Susan B. Anthony to give lectures in Texas.[10]



  • TERA closed operations due to internal problems and lack of funding.[2][3]



  • Annette Finnigan of Houston and her father, John Finnigan contribute financially to the New York Suffrage League.[1]





  • State representative, Jess Alexander Baker, introduces a joint resolution for women's suffrage in the Texas House.[1][14] Suffragists invited to speak to the legislature included Alice McAnulty, Helen M. Stoddard, Emma J. Mellette, Elisabet Ney, Helen Jarvis Kenyon and May Jarvis.[15]



Throughout the 1910s, Eliza E. Peterson of Texarkana continues to speak around the country for the African American division of the WCTU of Texas.[18] She also spoke out on women's suffrage.[18]

Texas women march for women's suffrage in Washington, D.C. on April 7, 1913.


  • State representative, Jess Alexander Baker, introduces a suffrage amendment to the Texas Constitution in the Thirty-second Legislature.[14]
  • Jovita Idar begins to write pro-suffrage articles in her family's Spanish language newspaper, La Cronica.[19]




  • The Texas Woman Suffrage Association holds its annual convention in Dallas, with eight local chapters in attendance.[24]


  • A women's suffrage bill for a Texas state constitutional amendment is approved in a committee of the Texas House of Representatives, but defeated by the House as a whole.[3]
  • January 18 Frank H. Burmeister introduces the women's suffrage resolution in the Texas Legislature.[25]
  • February 23 W.T. Bagby in the Texas House of Representatives argues that "woman suffrage was contrary to the laws of nature and the Bible."[25] He states that allowing women to vote would lead to socialism and that women should stay in the home.[26]
  • Minnie Fisher Cunningham becomes president of the Texas Woman Suffrage Association.[3] The annual convention was held at Galveston and had 21 local chapters attending.[24]
  • The Texas Federation of Women's Clubs comes out in endorsement of women's suffrage.[24]
  • Jane Y. McCallum is elected president of the Austin Woman Suffrage Association.[27]
  • Suffrage Day at the State Fair hosts 300 TESA delegates and a parade to the fairgrounds.[28]



  • Major anti-suffrage governor, James Ferguson, is impeached with help from Cunningham and other suffragists.[31]
  • The annual convention of TESA is held in Waco.[24]
  • TESA moves its headquarters from Houston to Austin in order to better lobby the government of Texas.[32]
  • The Texas Federation of Colored Women's Clubs officially endorses women's suffrage efforts.[3]
  • In Galveston, Texas, a Negro Women's Voter League is formed.[3]
  • January 13 A bill by Jess A. Baker to create a constitutional amendment for women's suffrage gets a majority of votes, but fails to get the necessary two-thirds vote to pass.[3][25] In addition to introducing this bill, Baker also introduces a bill to allow women to vote in the primary elections.[14]
  • April 9 Suffragists in Dallas march in the Patriotic Parade.[33]
  • July 7 The El Paso Equal Franchise League, led by Belle Critchett, calls out militant suffrage tactics.[34]


Women voters broadside distributed in 1918.
  • Christia Adair in Kingsville works with black and white women on petitions for women to vote in the Democratic primary election.[3]
  • The annual convention of TESA is held in Austin.[24]
  • January TESA lobbies Governor William P. Hobby on supporting a bill to allow women to vote in the primary election.[35]
  • February A primary suffrage bill is introduced by state representative, Charles B. Metcalfe.[35]
  • March 26 Hobby signs the primary voting bill into law.[35]
  • June 12 The El Paso Negro Woman's Civic and Enfranchisement League was formed by Maude Sampson.[36]
  • June 26 Women's right to vote in the primary takes effect, giving women 17 days to register for the July 2 primary.[37] Around 386,000 women registered to vote during that time.[37]
  • In Harris County, more than 1,500 black women register to vote, but other counties refuse to register African American women.[3]
  • In San Antonio, the Spanish newspaper, La Prensa, translated and published information about voter registration.[38]
  • Eleanor Brackenridge became the first woman to register to vote in Bexar County.[21] Hortense Sparks Ward was the first woman to register in Harris County.[39]
  • August A large number of Democratic county conventions endorse women's suffrage: 233.[40]


  • Large meeting of African American men in LaGrange come out in support of women's suffrage.[3]
  • January Hobby suggests that state laws be amended to allow women's suffrage and to disallow alien residents to vote. The resolution passed the Texas legislature and was slated to be voted on in May.[41]
  • February 8 Colonial Ball held to raise money for the campaign for the women's suffrage resolution.[42]
  • February 24 The Prison Special arrives in San Antonio.[43]
  • February 26 The Prison Special spends a night in El Paso before continuing their tour.[44]
  • April 11 Anna Howard Shaw lectures on women's suffrage in Waco.[45]
  • May 24 The resolution giving women the vote and disallowing aliens to vote is bundled together and the resolution was defeated by the voters.[46]
  • June 28 The Texas legislature ratified the 19th Amendment.[2] Texas was the ninth state and the first Southern state to ratify the amendment.[37]
  • June the Texas Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage was disbanded.[29]
  • October TESA holds a victory convention, dissolves the group and reorganizes itself as the League of Women Voters of Texas.[2]



  • Women born in Mexico and waiting to become naturalized American citizens lost the right to vote.[47]




Christia Adair





See also


  1. Taylor, A. Elizabeth; Brannon-Wranosky, Jessica (11 February 2020). "Woman Suffrage". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association.
  2. "The Woman Suffrage Movement in Texas - Institute for Women's Leadership". Texas Woman's University. Retrieved 2020-08-11.
  3. "Timeline of Texas Women's History". Women in Texas History. Retrieved 2020-08-11.
  4. Gibson, Arrell Morgan (15 October 2019). "Fountain, Albert Jennings". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association.
  5. "Votes for Women! - Texas Constitution of 1876, Article VI". Texas State Library | TSLAC. Retrieved 2020-08-14.
  6. Brannon-Wranosky 2015, p. 208.
  7. Brannon-Wranosky, Jessica (7 May 2019). "Texas Equal Rights Association". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association.
  8. Taylor 1951, p. 197.
  9. Taylor 1951, p. 198.
  10. Taylor 1951, p. 200.
  11. Addams, Jane; Stanton, Elizabeth Cady; Harper, Ida Husted; Shaw, Anna Howard; Fawcett, Millicent Garrett; Pankhurst, Emmeline; Blackwell, Alice Stone (2018). Women of the Suffrage Movement: Memoirs & Biographies of the Most Influential Suffragettes: Including 6 Volume History of Women's Suffrage (Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Emmeline Pankhurst, Anna Howard Shaw, Millicent G. Fawcett, Jane Addams, Lucy Stone, Carrie Catt, Alice Paul). Madison and Adams. ISBN 978-80-268-8478-1.
  12. "The Texas Suffrage Movement". ATX Celebrates Women's Suffrage Centennial. Retrieved 2020-08-12.
  13. Taylor 1951, p. 202.
  14. Enstam, Elizabeth York (12 June 2010). "Baker, Jess Alexander". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association.
  15. Brannon-Wranosky 2015, p. 217.
  16. "Jane McCallum/Suffrage Movement". Austin Public Library. Retrieved 2020-08-12.
  17. Brannon-Wranosky 2015, p. 218.
  18. Agresta, Michael (July 2020). "How Texas Women Delivered the Nineteenth Amendment". Texas Observer: A Journal of Free Voices. 112 (4): 34 via EBSCOhost.
  19. "Texas and the 19th Amendment". U.S. National Park Service. Retrieved 2020-08-14.
  20. Taylor 1951, p. 203.
  21. "Votes for Women! - The Movement Comes of Age - Page 2". Texas State Library | TSLAC. Retrieved 2020-08-14.
  22. Enstam 2002, p. 818.
  23. Prycer 2019, p. 29.
  24. Taylor 1951, p. 204.
  25. Taylor 1951, p. 208.
  26. Taylor 1951, p. 209.
  27. "Jane Y. McCallum". Humanities Texas. Retrieved 2020-08-12.
  28. Enstam 2002, p. 821-822.
  29. Cottrell, Debbie Mauldin (20 May 2019). "Texas Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association.
  30. Brannon-Wranosky 2010, p. 223.
  31. Bates, Steph (March 2009). "Remembering a Texas Suffragist". Humanities Texas. Retrieved 2020-08-12.
  32. "The Early Years". Austin Public Library. Retrieved 2020-08-12.
  33. Enstam 2001, p. 31.
  34. "Resolutions adopted at a special meeting of the Equal Franchise League of El Paso". University of Houston Digital Library: Minnie Fisher Cunningham Papers. Retrieved 2020-08-12.
  35. "Primary Suffrage in Texas". Austin Public Library. Retrieved 2020-08-12.
  36. "Letters regarding African American suffrage organization". Bullock Texas State History Museum. Retrieved 2020-08-12.
  37. Daniel, Theresa (2016-08-25). "How Texas led the women's suffrage movement". Dallas News. Retrieved 2020-08-12.
  38. Brannon-Wranosky 2010, p. 224.
  39. Scott, Janelle D. (16 February 2017). "Ward, Hortense Sparks". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association.
  40. Taylor 1951, p. 211.
  41. Taylor 1951, p. 211-212.
  42. Enstam 2001, p. 32.
  43. "Detailed Chronology National Women's Party History" (PDF). Library of Congress: American Memory: 20. t
  44. "After remaining in El Paso over". El Paso Times. 1919-02-27. p. 10. Retrieved 2020-08-16 via Newspapers.com.
  45. Ames, Eric (20 August 2015). "Well Done, Sister Suffragette! Celebrating the 95th Anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment at Baylor". The Baylor Digital Collections Blog. Retrieved 2020-08-14.
  46. Taylor 1951, p. 212, 214.
  47. Green, Laurie B. (2019-06-05). "How Texas gave women the vote. (Hint: Not all women.) [Opinion]". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2020-08-12.
  48. Rice, Jen (28 June 2019). "How Texas Prevented Black Women From Voting Decades After The 19th Amendment". KUT 90.5 Houston Public Media. Retrieved 2020-08-12.
  49. Cheng, Ashley (13 March 2020). "Opinion: Suffragettes of White Supremacy". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 2020-08-15.
  50. "100 Years of Women Voting". MyLO. 2019-08-23. Retrieved 2020-08-12.