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Suffrage Song

Suffrage Song

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By Caitlin Cass. Published by Fantagraphics

Hardcover, 264 pages, Colour, 2024. 

New Yorker contributing cartoonist Caitlin Cass traces the fight for suffrage in the U.S. from the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This intersectional history of women and voting rights chronicles the suffrage movement's triumphs, setbacks, and problematic aspects.

"She put in her work, but there's so much left to do." Begun in the Antebellum era, the song of suffrage was a rallying cry across the nation that would persist over a century. Capturing the spirit of this refrain, New Yorker contributing cartoonist Caitlin Cass pens a sweeping history of women's suffrage in the U.S. — a kaleidoscopic story akin to a triumphant and mournful protest song that spans decades and echoes into the present.

In Suffrage Song, Cass takes a critical, intersectional approach to the movement's history — celebrating the pivotal, hard-fought battles for voting rights while also laying bare the racist compromises suffrage leaders made along the way. She explores the multigenerational arc of the movement, humanizing key historical figures from the early days of the suffrage fight (Susan B. Anthony, Frances Watkins Harper), to the dawn of the "New Women" (Alice Paul, Mary Church Terrell), to the Civil Rights era (Fannie Lou Hamer, Ella Baker). Additionally, this book sheds light on less chronicled figures such as Zitkala-Ša and Mabel Ping Hua-Lee, whose stories reveal the complex racial dynamics that haunt this history.

The interiors include 4 foldouts, most notably a 4-page map detailing where women could vote in the US in 1919, leading up to the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Impeccably researched and rendered in an engaging and accessible comics style, Suffrage Song is sure to spark discussion on the vital issue of voting rights that continues to resonate today.

"With this fabulously informative book, Caitlin Cass gleefully joins Nathaniel Hawthorne's 'damn mob of scribbling women,' depicting suffragettes—warts and all—through the ages and chronicling the exasperating history of voting rights in America." — Emma Allen, New Yorker cartoon editor

"Suffrage Song is a stunning account of the ongoing and unending struggle for voting rights in US history. Caitlin Cass's writing and illustrations bring new insight about the connections between race and gender to the conventional story. A compelling read with contemporary relevance, it ought to be a required text in every history class in the land." — Joan W. Scott, author of Gender and the Politics of History

"Caitlin Cass's lavishly illustrated Suffrage Song utilizes the idea of hauntology and ghosts to unpack the unseemly history of voting rights in the U.S. Don't pass up the opportunity to experience the stories of these spirits. The decision will haunt you." — John Jennings, Eisner Award-winning comics creator and Media scholar

"The haunted history of voting rights is full of messy contradictions, but when you finish this creative and inspiring tale, you will want to tell everyone what you have learned: nobody is free until everybody is free." — Susan Ware, author of Why They Marched

"These artfully presented, thought-provoking comics uncover complexities of the popular historical narrative and emphasize how the fight for voting rights continues today." — Sarah Hunter - Booklist

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