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When an Unlikely Ally of Women's Suffrage Emerged In Edgefield, Support for the Cause Grew

Emily Anderson Dunovant

Emily Anderson Dunovantfield lived in Edgefield, South Carolina. She was well-educated and what many called a traditional woman. But during the early 1900's, Dunovant used a radical voice to help elevate the women's suffrage cause in South Carolina. 

Dr. James O. Farmer, Jr.  is author and emeritas professor of History at the University of South Carolina- Aiken. From his biographical sketch of Dunovant, written for Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920, we learn Dunovant was born in December of 1866 in Spartanburg County. Her father was a Confederate veteran and a "red shirt" during the campaign that overthrew the state's Reconstruction regime. Her mother was the daughter of a clergyman and raised Emily to be a devout Christian. In 1888, Emily married William Lowndes Dunovant of Edgefield, and settled into the life of a traditional wife and mother. But in 1910, Dunovant's voice skillfully emerged from her quiet life in Edgefield to the podium of suffrage movement.

In this episode of Sisterhood: SC Suffragists, Farmer explains how the well-publicized child custody trial involving Edgefield County's powerful Tillman family, struck a chord with Dunovant, connected her to an unlikely partner and placed her on a radical path fighting for women's rights.