Find a way to observe women’s suffrage


The Tribune

This fall, millions of women across the country will exercise their right to vote in the general election.

A century ago, women were organizing meetings, campaigns and other grassroots efforts in hopes of making a different kind of lasting change.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment, which was ratified Aug. 18, 1920.

A couple of weeks later, the Seymour Daily Tribune reported there was general interest by women in voting and hundreds of new voters were qualified to exercise the newly conferred right of suffrage.

Here’s what one article, published Sept. 4, 1920, had to say on the issue of women’s suffrage:

“Two registration blanks, please.”

The words were spoken by a veteran voter when he appeared before a precinct board this morning. He was accompanied by his wife and it was quite obvious that she was anxious to take the necessary step that would qualify her to exercise her newly conferred right of franchise.

“I’ll fill out my blank first and then I’ll help you with yours,” the husband said, turning toward his wife.

“I’ll do that myself,” she replied sternly.

The woman later told the man her vote would kill his vote.

So much for the notion that women generally obey their husbands’ wishes when it comes to voting.

The article also noted that “It is believed that practically as many women as men will have registered before the boards adjourned tonight.”

That’s a good thing.

Each year, on Aug. 26, Women’s Equality Day is celebrated to commemorate the amendment that ensures voting can’t be denied on the basis of sex.

While COVID-19 has derailed many plans, a pair of upcoming events in Bartholomew County aim to educate the public and celebrate the suffrage movement.

A women’s suffrage presentation will take place Sept. 26 in Hope, starting at the Yellow Trail Museum. The general gathering will begin at 10 a.m. with creating the traditional votes-for-women sashes. Museum volunteers are encouraging girls to bring their dolls to make sashes for them. They’re also encouraging people to visit in costume.

And on Sept. 19, a one-hour car parade will start at 12:30 p.m. in Columbus. The event, organized by the new, local, nonpartisan group Centennial Suffrage Society will travel from IUPUC to Mill Race Center in decorated vehicles.

It’s important to understand how much has changed over the past century and recognize the heroes that made it happen.

Take the time to learn about the past so we can continue to fight for a future. America will look much different 100 years from now.

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