88 years ago today–August 26, 1920–the 19th Amendment, “The Federal Suffrage Amendment” was officially added to the U.S. Constitution; 133 years after the Constitution itself was adopted. Here is what the 19th Amendment guarantees: 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 the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. That doesn’t seem so scary, does it?
But think about that date–1920–that’s the year my mother was born & although she is dead, millions of American who were born before 1920 are still alive. Why did it take so long for more than half of the population–women–to win the right to vote? Why in 1917 were suffragists arrested and thrown in jail and brutally force fed? Intriguing questions that I’m investigating and wrestling with in two projects–my joint biography, Stirring Up The World, of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony and another book project, Shout the Revolution: Women’s Fierce Fight for the Vote: 1910-1920. (Shout the Revolution is the title of a song suffragists wrote during their imprisonment.) In an earlier post, I wrote about our road trip to Seneca Falls, NY, for the 160th anniversary of the Women’s Rights Convention. There we discovered this statute (see picture) portraying the historic moment when Amelia Bloomer introduced Susan B. Anthony (on the left) to Elizabeth Cady Stanton. (Note that both AB & ECS were wearing the controversial fashion–bloomers.)
Here 8 things I’m going to do to celebrate this day:
1. Wish everyone I meet “Happy Women’s Equality Day.”
2. Note it in any emails I send today.
3. Read the “Declaration of Sentiments and the Resolutions” (it’s online).
4. Spend time at www.roadstosenecafalls.com and www.nwhp.com.
5. Tell my 4-year-old granddaughter about the event.
6. Post a blog entry.
7. Make a bibliography of relevant books to recommend for classroom use.
8. Organize all the pictures I’ve taken over the years of women suffrage sites such as the grave stones of several men in Colorado that noted their suffrage work, and the markers in Laramie, WY, and Salem, OH, etc.
Please add more ideas!