In the decades from 1870 to 1920, however, despite moments of interracial cooperation, the woman’s movement remained largely segregated. Many white leaders dismissed the concerns of black women—such as miscegenation, interracial rape, lynching, and their admittance to the all-women cars on the Pullman trains—as “race questions,” irrelevant to the woman movement’s foremost goal of “political equality of women.”
For instance, Alice Paul, president of the National Woman’s Party, refused to allow Addie Hunton, a black field secretary for the NAACP, to address the National Woman’s Party in 1921 about the disenfranchisement of southern black women, because Paul considered it more appropriate for this problem to be taken up by a racial rather than a feminist organization. The refusal of white reformers to address black women’s specific experiences of gender oppression meant that the white woman’s movement would remain mostly white, even when individual women of color were invited to become members of white-dominated women’s groups.
In other words, “We want your support, but we don’t want to support you.” Of course.