This year marks the 100th Anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution securing the right to vote for women in every state.
By 1915, most Western states, including Arizona, had extended voting rights to women in state and local elections. When statehood was achieved, women’s suffrage was included in Arizona’s constitution.
Flagstaff branches of the American Association of University Women, the League of Women Voters and NAU’s Commission on the Status of Women have asked Mayor Coral Evans to issue a proclamation to commemorate the anniversary.
The ceremony will take place in the foyer of city hall on Tuesday, Jan. 14 from 11:15-11:45 a.m. and the public is invited to attend.
The first sustained movement for equal rights for women began in 1848 when a group of women convened in Seneca Falls, New York. At the time, a woman couldn’t own or inherit property; she had no rights to custody of her own children and a widow became a dependent of her sons or other male heirs. Many women realized that their legal status could only be changed if women got the vote.
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Under the inspired leadership of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and many others, the women’s suffrage movement grew. It took more than 70 years to finally achieve their goal, so most women who started the movement did not live to see their dream realized.
Congress finally passed the 19th Amendment to the Constitution in June, 1919 guaranteeing women in every state the right to vote. But it had to be ratified by 75% of the states to take effect. In August, 1920 Tennessee cast the final vote that enshrined women’s suffrage into US law.
Sadly, both men and women of color were left out by racial discrimination in voting rules. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 finally officially prohibited racial discrimination in voting. As we celebrate the victory of the suffragettes 100 years ago, some groups continue to experience voter suppression, reminding us that citizen rights must continue to be asserted and fought for vigorously.
So join us at city hall on January 14 to recognize the victories of the past century and renew our commitment to voting rights for all citizens.