Kamala Harris' Outfit Was No Accident

White was a nod to the suffragist movement
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 8, 2020 6:21 AM CST
Kamala Harris Wore White for a Reason in Big Speech
A television broadcasts Vice President-elect Kamala Harris' acceptance speech outside the White House, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Kamala Harris pointed out Saturday night that while she's the first woman to ascend to the vice presidency, she won't be the last because "every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities." But when she walked out onto that stage in Wilmington as vice president-elect dressed head-to-toe in white, she very definitely was not the first—nor was her wardrobe choice any accident, notes USA Today. Geraldine Ferraro wore white when she accepted the Democratic vice presidential nomination in 1984, as did Hillary Clinton when she accepted the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016. Women in Congress have worn white to President Trump's 2017 and 2019 State of the Union addresses. It's all a nod to the favored color of the suffragettes who worked to get women the vote, notes USA Today.

However, that suffragette legacy is complicated for Harris as Vox notes that as a woman of color, she likely would have been excluded from the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention that laid the groundwork for the 19th Amendment. Essentially, while the movement was founded on the work of nonwhite women, white suffragettes threw Black voting rights under the bus in order to get the 19th Amendment passed. Harris seemed to acknowledge the evolution that brought her to that stage, thanking "all the women who have worked to secure and protect the right to vote for over a century. One hundred years ago was the 19th Amendment. Fifty-five years ago was the Voting Rights Act. And now in 2020, with a new generation of women in our country who cast their ballots and continue to fight for their fundamental right to vote and be heard.” (More Kamala Harris stories.)

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