Adele Clark:
The colored women had the most trouble with registering. There had been so much of that sort of thing: "If you get the vote, what about the Negro woman?" But we had some wonderful Negro leaders, and there was one in Richmond named Ora Stokes, the wife of a colored clergyman. And she organized the colored women and taught them to register. But the City Hall here in Richmond registered the colored women separately from the white, down in the basement. And they worked out all sorts of things of having their hours shorter than the white women. We white women had a big fight with the electoral board, insisting on their giving the Negro women the same privilege of hours for election. Our newspapers were perfectly terrific about the Negro woman voting. They brought out everything that they could of Reconstruction days, and they wrote outrageous editorials. My very intimate friend Lenora Houston, who was an artist - and she and I had a studio together - decided that we could not let this terrible race condition occur. I've jumped back now to the fall of 1920. Lenora and I decided that we had to do something to meet the colored women, because we were really afraid there'd be riots of sorts. And, as we didn't dare ask them to the Equal Suffrage League - this was before the League of Women Voters was organized - because we would have been accused of trying to get the Negro vote out, we took advantage of being artists (always considered a little erratic). So we had a group of the colored women come to our studio one night to talk over the whole situation with them, and to tell them that the men had been just as much afraid of our voting as they had been of their voting, but we wanted to assure them of our friendship. Ora Stokes and a Mrs. Lillian Payne and several other leading Negro women, whose names we had got from a Mrs. Walter MacNeill, a sister-in-law of Mrs. Valentine's who had done interracial work. She told us who to call, and we had called these colored women, and they came to our studio and we talked over the whole situation with them. And it was decided that on the election day that several of us white women would take automobiles and visit all the Negro registration places to see whether any violence was breaking out. There was a very able woman leader here, a Miss Catherine Halls, who was most active with YWCA work. She lent her car. Mrs. Houston's mother rented a car for us, and I don't remember who else had automobiles at her disposal, but there were about four of us who started off at sunrise on the election day and visited all the Negro polling places just to see if everything was going quietly. And everything went quite quietly; in spite of the fact that there had been threats of bloodshed and riot and everything else, there wasn't any rioting. The Negro women went up quietly and voted, but I think they were very much heartened by the fact that there were four or five white women that went to the polls to give them their backing.

- Adele Clark, President of the Virginia League of Woman Voters and founding member of the Equal Suffrage League of Virginia and the League of Women Voters in Virginia

Interview with Adele Clark by Winston Broadfoot, February 28, 1964, Interview G-0014-2, in the Southern Oral History Program Collection #4007, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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