Celebrating our Local Suffragists

In 1917, New York women won the right to vote, three years before our nation’s 19th Amendment was passed.

 

The women in our country fought long and hard for legal representation and were split in their views on the best means of accomplishing it. Organizations became fractured with militant suffragettes breaking off from those suffragists who put their fight for suffrage aside during the war years.

 

The suffragettes went on to silently picket the White House, its first picketing ever, for over 2-1/2 years, 6 days a week. Initially tolerated, they grew to be harassed and arrested. In 1917, these “Silent Sentinels” were jailed in intolerable conditions and were beaten and ultimately force-fed. When asked why they continued their efforts under such circumstances, they replied that it was so no other women would have to endure their suffering.

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photo: Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum, Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission

Rosalie Gardiner Jones leading the Port Washington suffragists past Finn MacCool's in the Firemen's Parade on August 8, 1913.

Following a public backlash, President Wilson finally supported a national suffrage amendment that was ultimately passed on August 18, 1920.

“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.

 

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

 

In 1875, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton had written these words that were presented to Congress in 1878 and every year thereafter. It took 41 years for them to be approved by Congress.

 

Let’s take a look at how our local advocates, both women and men, supported the cause.

Joan DeMeo Lager, Curatorial Director

Jennifer Wiggins, Researcher

Betty Mintz, Exhibit Art Director

Chris Bain, Website Design

Tessa Jordan, Editing

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