Guest lecturer discusses women’s movement


Yinka Bamiro

Marjorie Spruill, author and University of South Caolina professor, address the crowd during Amicus Curiae lecture Jan. 21.

Marjorie Spruill was the guest speaker for the first Amicus Curiae lecture of this new year, which took place Jan. 21. Now retired, Spruill has a career as a professor of history, first at the University of Southern Mississippi, followed by Vanderbilt and finally the University of South Carolina, where she is distinguished professor emerita of history. Along her numerous accomplishments in academics, Spruill is also an author of six books.

“I was very honored to be invited to Marshall,” Spruill said. “This is a well-known institution with excellent programs. I know of others who have been invited to speak here, so I was pleased when Ms. Proctor contacted me.”

The lecture focused on the perseverance as well as the ups and downs women and supporters of the suffrage movement experienced during the fight to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment. Spruill addressed themes such as important figures in the movement, slavery and how it played

a role in suffrage, black activists’ role in women rights, the back and forth with the South and the difficulties navigating the law and constitution.

At the conclusion of her presentation, Spruill received a standing ovation from the audience and proceeded to answer questions and sign copies of her book Divided We Stand: The Battle Over Women’s Rights and Family Values That Polarized American Politics.

“We all exist and take up this space on earth, but we can do so in a number of ways. One is to be disengaged, but when people are engaged, they can make the world a better place,” said Patricia Proctor, pre-law adviser, political science professor and director of the Simon Perry Center for Constitutional Democracy. “These lectures are educational, and when we’re lucky, they can also be empowering.”

Olayinko Bamiro can be contacted at [email protected]