Often a movement requires a team, and with the wisdom of these five sisters, the women’s suffrage movement in South Carolina made significant leeway during their time.
The Rollins sisters were born into an aristocratic, free, black family during the Reconstruction era. Although all five sisters were involved in activism, the three most influential sisters are debatably Frances, Lottie, and Louisa.
The eldest daughter, Frances, started her civil rights activism when she was denied access to a steamboat travelling from Beaufort to Charleston. She brought the conductor to court for violating discrimination laws and won.
In the 1860’s, Frances and Lottie started a school in Charleston for black children, although they had to later move to Columbia due to funding issues.
In 1869, Lottie addressed the South Carolina state legislature about women’s suffrage, being the first black woman to do so.
Around this time, Frances wed another civil rights activist and author, William J. Whipper. And along with Whipper’s help, the sisters made significant impressions on the state of South Carolina and it’s legislature.
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