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Walter McKenzie Clark: A Leader in Women's Rights

Documenting the American South invites you to celebrate Women's History Month by remembering the valiant struggles of the women's suffrage movement in North Carolina and beyond.

One of the most outspoken advocates for women's rights in North Carolina was state Supreme Court chief justice Walter McKenzie Clark (1846-1924). In 1913, Clark spoke to the Federation of Women's Clubs about the legal status of women, a status that he compared to slavery. Then, in 1915, Clark wrote a dissenting judicial opinion that specifically defended the rights of women to be notaries public, but called for broader political rights for women in general. This sentiment is also evident in his 1916 address, Ballots for Both.

More works about the women's rights movement are available in the "North Carolinians and the Great War" digital collection, which examines how World War I shaped the lives of different North Carolinians on the battlefield and on the home front. See also the "The North Carolina Experience, Beginnings to 1940" collection, which collects a wide variety of print and manuscript materials that tell the story of the Tar Heel State.

Jennifer L. Larson