Celebrating Women’s History Month

The Road to Women’s Suffrage

As Carrie Chapman Cat, a pivotal leader in the women’s suffrage movement wrote 100 years ago,

“The vote is the emblem of your equality, women of America, the guarantee of your liberty… Women have suffered agony of soul, which you can never comprehend, that you and your daughter might inherit political freedom.”

It is up to all of us to honor the struggle and sacrifice of the Suffragists who gained women the right to vote. The best way to do so is by making history yourself:  VOTE!

The fight for women’s suffrage was complex and began 83 years before the ratification of the 19th Amendment.

1837 – An American Anti-Slavery Society Agent, Angela Grimke, is appointed to speak at an abolitionist convention in New York and New Jersey.

1851 – At the Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio, Sojourner Truth delivers her now memorable speech, “Ain’t I a Woman?”

Sojourner Truth

1865 – The 13th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution is ratified, effectively ending slavery across American territories. Non-landowning and non-white people, however, are not given the right to vote.

1866 – Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Frederick Douglass form the American Equal Rights Association dedicated to the goal of suffrage for all regardless of race or gender.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Susan B. Anthony

1868 – The first edition of ‘The Revolution,’ a weekly women’s rights newspaper, is published under the proprietorship of Susan B. Anthony and edited by Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

1869 – The National Women Suffrage Association and the American Women Suffrage Association are formed.

1871 – Mary Ann Shadd Cary, the first black woman publisher in North America and the first female law school student at Howard University, attempts unsuccessfully to register to vote in Washington, D.C.

Mary Ann Shadd Cary

1872 – Susan B. Anthony is arrested after voting for Ulysses S. Grant in the presidential election.

1875 – In Minor v. Happersett, the U.S. Supreme Court rules the 14th Amendment does not grant women the right to vote.

1890 – The National Association of Women Suffrage Association was formed under the leadership of Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

1892 – The Colored Women’s League is founded in Washington, D.C. by Helen Cook, Mary Church Terrell, Ida Wells-Barnett and Frances Harper.

1910 – The Women’s Political Union organizes the first suffrage parade in New York City.

1913 – Alice Paul and Lucy Burns form the Congressional Union to work toward the passage of a federal amendment to give women the vote – later renamed the National Women’s Party in 1916.

Alice Paul

Lucy Burns

1913 – President Wilson labels women who campaign for suffrage “totally abhorrent.”

1917 – George Edward Creel, Chair, Committee on Public Information, meets with President Wilson daily to introduce the beginning of several bills towards women’s suffrage.

1918 – Jeannette Rankin of Montana is elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. President Wilson states the Democratic Party platform will support suffrage, calling it a “war measure.”

Jeannette Rankin

1919 – The Federal Women Suffrage Amendment, originally introduced in 1878, is passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate and sent to the states for ratification.

August 20, 1920 – The 19th Amendment was ratified by the states: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment.

May 13, 1969 – Florida was not one of the states to ratify the 19th Amendment. Florida belatedly and symbolically showed its support for women’s suffrage by ratifying the 19th Amendment in 1969.