How to be anti-racist


How to be anti-racist


Black women at the Inaugural March, part III

Ida B Wells is the hero of our story. At the 1913 suffrage march she was 50 years old, mother of 4, an established community leader in Chicago.

But since white women are looking for anti-racist models, let’s spend a moment on Ida’s colleagues Virginia Brooks & Belle Squire.🧵

When we left off, the Illinois suffrage delegation had just confirmed that Ida was being booted from the group at the insistence of the organizers. Virginia Brooks objected, loudly. She and Belle Squire had co-founded the new Alpha Suffrage Club with Ida. [Alpha Suffrage Club arrives in Washington]

Belle Squire was Ida’s contemporary. She founded the No Vote, No Tax League, first in Cook County and then throughout the state. She led more than 5,000 Illinois women in refusing to pay taxes until they could vote. She is on the right👇🏾in 1911. So much in this photo.

Belle got attention for insisting on being called “Mrs” Squire, though she was not married. “Why should a woman remain Miss until death or marriage?" she asked. "The boy changes his title from master to mister as soon as he wishes--as soon as he gets into long pants

"and is introduced to a razor. They say it's confusing. They will not know then whether we are single or married. I don't think it is anybody's business what we are. Why should we be obliged to print our marital relations on our business cards? Men don't." 🔥🔥🔥

Virginia Brooks was 27, a generation younger than Belle and Ida. She grew up in Hyde Park, where her parents owned boardinghouses. When her father died, she inherited property in West Hammond (now Calumet City), on the Illinois/Indiana border. She and her mother moved there.

Illinois women won school suffrage back in 1891. In 1912 Brooks ran for West Hammond school board and won. In addition to her local political work, her suffrage activity spanned Illinois and Indiana. She was an active member of the Illinois Equal Suffrage Association.

When Ida was ejected from the Illinois delegation, Virginia Brooks & Belle Squire announced that they would join her if she were willing to march in a different section. Ida appeared to consent. Shortly thereafter everyone left to assemble for the march.

As the delegation lined up, all three women were missing. Virginia Brooks appeared & went looking for the other two. She found Belle Squire but not Ida. The two of them concluded she had decided to boycott, understandably. Then, as they began to march,

“Suddenly from the crowd on the sidewalk Mrs. Barnett walked calmly out to the delegation and assumed her place at the side of Mrs. Squire. There was no question raised . . . and she finished the parade.” Photo👇🏾ran in the Chicago Tribune. #BlackSuffragists #CenturyofStruggle


Daily Suffragist






Daily Suffragist, “How to be anti-racist,” Daily Suffragist, accessed June 24, 2024,

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