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Exhibition Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote

Portrait of Zitkála-Šá (also known as Gertrude Bonnin) (1876–1938). Frontispiece in American Indian Stories. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1985, reprint of 1921 edition. General Collections, Library of Congress


Zitkála-Šá, meaning “Red Bird,” was a Yankton Dakota Sioux who spent parts of her life in South Dakota, Indiana, Utah, and Washington, D.C. A writer, musician, and activist, she supported women’s rights and civil rights for Native Americans, including the 1924 Indian Citizenship Act, which gave Native Americans the right to vote in the United States. Native Americans struggled to exercise their voting rights into the 1960s and beyond due to restrictive state legislation such as literacy tests, poll taxes, and intimidation—the same barriers also faced by African Americans.