This chapter argues that Minnie Fisher Cunningham's four terms as president of the Texas Equal Suffrage Association were central to its becoming one of the largest and most politically effective in the South. Cooperating closely with the leaders of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, she built an effective lobbying “machine” for woman suffrage, and attracted favorable publicity by committing the TESA membership to patriotic work during World War I. In a region implacably opposed to voting rights for women, Cunningham was one of the few Southern suffragists who got results: in 1918 the Texas legislature conceded women the right to vote in primary elections. Although Cunningham astutely portrayed suffragists as “above” politics, the chapter presents evidence that she exploited a rift in the Democratic Party over the prohibition issue and a bitter gubernatorial primary fight between William Hobby and James Ferguson, promising to deliver the female vote to the incumbent, Hobby, in return for a primary suffrage bill.
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