Ohio University

Suffrage Centennial

Nine women stand in an oval photograph holding a sign "Head-Quarters for Colored Women Voters." There is a quote above them that says "As much as white women need the ballot, colored women need it more" by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, 1873. The image is created by the National Archives Museum and is part of their "Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote" series.

Commemorating the 19th Amendment

Join Us: August 26th [download pdf of flyer]

Join us on August 26th as we commemorate the passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment! We welcome diverse participation in this event that acknowledges the many Black, native, and other women who continue(d) to be barred from exercising their voting rights long after the passing of this landmark legislation

We encourage you to actively participate throughout the day by posting to Twitter and/or Instagram using #AthensOHSuffrage, or by following the hashtag. There's also opportunities to participate in virtual workshops from wherever you are! Sponsors include: Athena Cinema, BSCPB, Calliope Feminist Choir, Department of English, Department of History, League of Women Voters, Multicultural Center, Ohio University Libraries, and the Women's Center.

Use the following links to easily navigate this page.

Follow Along Online | Make Your Own Sash | Contribute to the Conversation | Inclusion and Discrimination  | Movies and Videos to Watch | Disclaimer | Upcoming Events | Past Events

How to Participate on August 26

Follow Along Online

  • Follow #AthensOHSuffrage on Instagram and Twitter. You can do this by typing the hashtag into the search bar or by using the following hyperlinks (Twitter; Instagram). As people post on social media, these searches will populate with more pictures, videos, links, and an inspirational video created and sponsored by the Calliope Feminist Choir, to help you learn about suffrage and celebrate!
  • Find sponsoring organizations on Instagram and Twitter to see the content that they post. You can find them by inserting the following into the search bar, or click on the hyperlink to take you to their pages. Here are some folk that you can follow:

Create Your Own Sash and Banner with Miriam Intrator

Create your own sash or banner and share on social media by participating in one (or both!) of the virtual banner and sash making sessions, scheduled for 11 am and 5 pm. Email intrator@ohio.edu for more information.

Sashes and banners were part of the pageantry that was used to communicate to passerby during protests and rallies, and were also instrumental in creating visual communication that was captured by the press. The National Woman's Party would go so far as using President Wilson's own words in relation to WWI to justify woman's suffrage and would stitch his speeches on banners. 

Making a banner or sash on your own? We encourage you to consider the colors that you incorporate. The suffrage colors associated with the National Woman's Party are purple, gold, and white. Purple stands for loyalty, white for the purity of purpose and gold as moving forward "into the light." The Women's Social and Political Union in England, associated with the Pankhurst's, are associated the colors of purple, white, and green. We encourage you to explore the symbolism of the suffrage movement through the National Parks Service.

We also encourage you to consider how modern symbols of inclusion can be incorporated into the banners and sashes you make to represent how you are commemorating the 19th Amendment. Just as many social movements continue to evolve to be more inclusive, so do the symbols and imagery associated with them. We encourage you to explore this by learning about the progression of the LGBT Pride Flag to the Progress Flag designed by Daniel Quasar to incorporate colors and lines that represent LGBTQ+ communities of color, as well as the trans community.

Unable to join the virtual sessions on August 26th? We have the following recorded video for you: Modernizing Your Suffrage Sash! Enjoy in our own time, in your own place, and feel inspired to post what you create once you've viewed the video!

Post your sash and banner creations to social media using the following steps!

	Lucy Burns stands at the head of a queue of suffragists in prison uniforms. She holds a banner that reads: Resistance to Tyranny is Obedience to God.
Alt text and image provided by the National Woman's Party.
Suffragist holding banner that reads "To Ask Freedom For Women Is Not A Crime Suffrage Prisoners Should Not Be Treated As Criminals"
Alt text and image provided by the National Woman's Party.
Suffragist holds a banner that reads "Kaiser Wilson Have you forgotten your solidarity with the poor Germans because they were not self-governed? 20,000,000 American women are not self-governed. Take the beam out of your own eye.
Image provided by the National Woman's Party.

 

 

 

 

 

Contribute to the Conversation: What Should I Share Online?

You can participate easily by posting to your own social media account. If you do not have a personal social media account, you may consider talking with folk (including your workplace) who have a social media account to see if they will post on your behalf. Due to the volume of requests, and the nonpartisan nature of the organizers, we are unable to post on your behalf. Please review these links for guidance on how to post to Twitter and Instagram. Twitter caps posts at 280 characters (for example, these last two sentences are 176 characters). You can create a "thread" that will allow you to post more. Instagram allows for 2,200 characters - but you may want to consider keeping your posts short for people to be able to easily digest them! 

In the text that you write to accompany your post, be sure to include #AthensOHSuffrage. This will enable people to find your post easily! 

  • Post videos of yourself reading your favorite suffrage-themed poems or speeches! We encourage you to read more below about diversity and inclusion in the suffrage movement and to consider this when selecting your material! Many thanks to Alden Library for compiling a list of speeches that you can read to learn more about the movement, and that you can use to create your own video! Read suffrage speeches here [downloads as a PDF]! Posting videos can be super simple. Film yourself from your smart phone or through your webcam on your computer! For those of you associated with Ohio University, you can use Teams to recordYou may find it easy to upload a video you've created to YouTube, and then to share that video on social media. Here's how you can create/upload a YouTube video, and how to share it on Twitter! New to Twitter? We've got you covered with a training video created by Paul Shovlin to guide you through Twitter for this event! Want to participate on Instagram? Paul Shovlin has an introductory video for you!
  • Post "My Favorite Suffragist." You can share anecdotes, links to wiki pages (or scholarly pages in encyclopedias), and let people know why this suffragist is your favorite! Or it can be as simple as sharing your favorite quote. Here's an example post: Tweet: #AthensOHSuffrage 'I cannot help wondering sometimes what I might have become and might have done if I had lived in a country which had not circumscribed and handicapped me on account of my race, but had allowed me to reach any height I was able to attain.' —Mary Church Terrell
  • Explore artifacts from the Smithsonian and share what has you feeling inspired to learn more! Here's an example post: Tweet: #AthensOHSuffrage This jailed for freedom pin represents what women were willing to do to gain the vote. I will vote because I believe in democracy, and to claim this right that wasn't always given to me. https://womenshistory.si.edu/object/amelia-himes-walkers-jailed-freedom-pin:nmah_516351

Inclusion, Discrimination, and Suffrage

While the 19th Amendment was passed on August 20, 1920, and officially became part of the Constitution on August 26, there is still much work to be done to ensure all women have the ability to exercise the right to vote. As you celebrate with us the passage of the 19th Amendment, we encourage you to also read about Jim Crow laws and other obstacles to voting. We hope in looking to the centennial of women's suffrage, we can learn from the successes and pitfalls of the suffrage movement as we galvanize and cultivate leadership in our communities that support all women.

The suffrage movement was not monolithic. There were suffragists that supported abolition, who fought for women of color to have the vote, and who were women of color. For us to ignore that there was great diversity within the suffrage movement would be to white wash and deny the invaluable contributions of women of color. However, it is incredibly important that we recognize that some suffragists supported women's access to vote as a means to counter the potential political power of Black men and that history has often highlighted the contributions of white women at the expense of celebrating the contributions and accomplishments of women of color. 

For a brief history, we encourage you to read:

As you select the poems, plays, or speeches to record and post on social media, we encourage you to reflect on this history and to consider if the material you are sharing reflects your values of inclusion. There may be some language included in past speeches, etc., that do not reflect current cultural standards of inclusion. If the language in the speech is not something that you would normally say in regards to how people, cultures, identities, etc., are described, then you may wish to consider adjusting the speech to reflect the language that you would use today or choosing a different speech. You can even make a note in your Twitter post about this process!

The organizers of the suffrage centennial in Athens, OH are committed to using this event to educate on women's history, and on issues of diversity and inclusion. We, and Ohio University, are committed to supporting inclusion of diverse people and populations within and beyond our campus community. Find out more about Ohio University's commitment to diversity and inclusion at: https://www.ohio.edu/inclusion.

Disclaimer

The organizers of the Commemorating 100 Years of Women's Suffrage are nonpartisan. We hope that this program, and programs like this, assist individuals in understanding democracy and voting rights generally. The views reflected in the posts by others using #AthensOHSuffrage, or otherwise in connection to the community sharing of content for this event, do not reflect the views of the organizers or of Ohio University. Everyone is welcome to participate from their own viewpoints and perspectives.

Copyright: As you share, please be mindful of copyright materials. For whatever you share that you don't have ownership of, you should check to see if the material is in public domain. Cornell University has a helpful table in determining what material is in public domain. Ohio University also has this helpful website on fair use of imagery.

Risks of Sharing: Sharing online has risks, including (but not limited to) online bullying, permanence by way of screenshots and retweeting, and other responses that we can't predict. While you can report bullying or trolling behavior through Twitter, there are reports that Twitter does not act quickly enough to respond to these issues. As such, please consider that we have events like this because in many ways we still exist within a culture in which people face racism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, and other forms of oppression. Therefore, responses to our event may not always be positive and we may face backlash. 

Movies and Videos to Watch

Upcoming Events

Join us throughout 2020 in celebrating the suffrage centennial with these events happening in Athens and our surrounding communities! If you have an event that you would like added to this website, please submit your event online.

Past Events

Exhibit "Women Pioneers: Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Women's Suffrage"

Opens January 13th and available throughout the Spring Semester anytime the 4th floor is open.

The exhibit "Women Pioneers: Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Women's Suffrage" celebrates the 100th anniversary of the passing and ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution granting women the right to vote. 

The 19th Amendment guarantees American women the right to vote. Yet at the time of its passing, many individual state laws still allowed for discriminatory policies that prevented most African Americans and other minorities from voting. Thus, the struggle for equal enfranchisement continued until the Voting Rights Act in 1965. To this day, equal voting rights continues to be a rather contentious topic of debate. Nevertheless, the passing of the 19th Amendment, achieved only after a long and difficult struggle, was a pivotal moment in American and women’s history.This exhibit examines that history through materials from the Mahn Center for Archives & Special Collections. Exhibit research by ENG 4940 students Harmony Renn and Saraya Abner and curation by special collections librarian Miriam Intrator.

FREE Film Showing and Discussion: Selma

 

January 21, 2020

7:00PM

Athena Cinema (20 South Court Street)

Brought to you by the Athena Cinema and sponsored by Ohio University Libraries, School of Film, Multicultural Center, Black Student Cultural Programming Board, English Department, History Department, Women’s Center, and Arts for Ohio.

SELMA is the story of a movement. The film chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one Geof the most significant victories for the civil rights movement.

Free admission, as part of Athena Cinema’s Women Pioneers Series.

Exhibit Talk & Tour with Student Researcher-Curators Harmony Renn & Saraya Abner

February 3, 2020

4:00PM-5:00PM

Alden Library, 4th Floor

Please join student researcher-curators Harmony Renn & Saraya Abner as they discuss some of their favorite items in the exhibit Women Pioneers: Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Women's Suffrage. As students in ENG 4940 Research Apprenticeship they conducted most of the in-depth research that made this exhibit possible. Sponsored by Ohio University Libraries.

Authors@Alden with Dr. Sara Egge

February 19, 2020

3:00PM-4:30PM

Alden Library, 4th floor

Please join us for Authors@Alden with Dr. Sara Egge, author of "Woman Suffrage and Citizenship in the Midwest," in conversation with Ohio University Professor of History Dr. Katherine Jellison. The event is free and open to the public.

2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the passing and ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution granting women the right to vote. Dr. Sara Egge's book documents the suffrage movement in the midwest specifically, highlighting how important each state's actions were in the lead-up to this momentous shift in American and women's history.

Please join us on Wednesday, February 19th at 3pm the 4th floor of Alden for conversation and light refreshments. All are welcome.

This event is presented in conjunction with the exhibit "Women Pioneers: Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Women's Suffrage."

Brought to you by Ohio University Libraries. Sponsors for this program include: History, English, HTC, Contemporary History Institute, Multicultural Center, Black Student Cultural Programming Board, WGSS. Partners include: Center for Campus & Community Engagement, Ohio Museum Complex, and the Women's Center.

FREE Film Showing of Mankiller and Discussion with Valerie Red-Horse Mohl, Director and Producer

 

February 25, 2020

7:00PM-9:00PM

Athena Cinema (20 South Court Street)

Sponsored by the Women's Center, Multicultural Center, Black Student Cultural Programming Board, Cutler Scholars, Margaret Boyd Scholars, OHIO Honors, and Athena Cinema. This program is also part of the Women Pioneers Series with Athena Cinema; partners for that series include Ohio University Libraries, School of Film, Multicultural Center, Black Student Cultural Programming Board, English Department, History Department, Women’s Center, and Arts for Ohio.

Valerie Red-Horse Mohl, Director and Producer of MANKILLER, is of Cherokee ancestry and the owner/founder of Red-Horse Native Productions, Inc. Red-Horse Mohl and her company have become the preeminent collaborator with American Indian tribal nations to bring important Native stories accurately and respectfully to the screen.

When history fails to preserve stories from our past and present, it’s up to us to correct the record. Wilma Mankiller, the first woman elected Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, is omitted from most history books despite ranking among revolutionary leaders like Harriet Tubman or Eleanor Roosevelt. She was an activist and a champion to a nation – and it’s time the world remembers her name. MANKILLER is a documentary celebrating a leader who defied all odds to make a difference for her people. During a time when American Indians found themselves disenfranchised and undervalued by the United States at large, Wilma emerged as a champion of the Cherokee Nation and became its first female Principal Chief in 1985.

Suffrage Transcription-a-thon: Making History Accessible

March 3, 2020

10:00AM-4:00PM (Participants are encouraged to come and go as they are able)

Alden Library, 5th Floor, Voinovich Room

Sponsored by the Women’s Center and Ohio University Libraries.

This program is a response to a call to action from By the People and the Library of Congress, to transcribe documents from throughout the women’s suffrage movement so that documents may be easily searched and accessed by contemporary readers.

100 Years of Change: An International Perspective

March 8, 2020

2:00PM-4:00PM

Southeast Ohio History Center (24 West State Street)

Sponsored by: Department of History, Southeast Ohio History Center, League of Women Voters of Athens County.

In honor of International Women's Day (March 8), a panel of women representing the Global South will address questions raised in the upcoming exhibit Ohio Women Vote: 100 Years of Change, which will be on display at the Southeast Ohio History Center beginning on March 16. Katherine Jellison of the Department of History will moderate, and refreshments will be served.

(EVENT CANCELLED DUE TO COVID-19) Modernizing Your Suffrage Sash

March 24, 2020

4:00PM-6:00PM

Baker University Center, Room 403 (Women's Center)

Co-Sponsored by the Women’s Center and Ohio University Libraries

Suffragists, and particularly those associated with the National Woman’s Party (in the U.S.) or the Pankhurst's (in the U.K.) were known for pageantry. Suffragists utilized suffrage sashes to identify their organizations, states, and as method of delivery for their colors, which symbolized reasons as to why women should have the vote and/or their organization affiliation. In this session, participants may modernize a suffrage sash to represent their affiliation with current political or social movements. We encourage you to wear your new sash to our film showing later in the evening of Suffragette!

 

FREE film showing and discussion: Suffragette, with discussion led by Dr. Carey Snyder

 

March 24, 2020

7:00PM

Athena Cinema (20 South Court Street)

This program is also part of the Women Pioneers Series with Athena Cinema; partners for that series include Ohio University Libraries, School of Film, Multicultural Center, Black Student Cultural Programming Board, English Department, History Department, Women’s Center, and Arts for Ohio.

Maud (Carey Mulligan) is a working wife and mother whose life is forever changed when she is secretly recruited to join the U.K.’s growing suffragette movement. Galvanized by the outlaw fugitive Emmeline Pankhurst (Meryl Streep), Maud becomes an activist for the cause alongside women from all walks of life.

(EVENT POSTPONED: Please visit the Southeast Ohio History Center website for updates) Ten-Thousand Feet for Freedom: Ohio’s 1912 Woman Suffrage Parade with Leslie Blankenship

March 26, 2020

5:30PM-7:00PM

Southeast Ohio History Center

In 1850-1851, the men of Ohio held a Constitutional Convention. They thought the 1802 Constitution needed updating.  Ohio women agreed whole-heartily.  They immediately convened four equal suffrage conventions in Columbiana, Morgan, and Morrow counties. They collected petitions containing 2,106 signatures from twelve counties praying that the words “white” and “male” be dropped from voter qualifications, and they submitted their petitions to the Constitutional Convention.  When the all-male vote was taken, the issue failed 73 to 7.  It was said that comments during discussion were “so low and obscene” they were not even recorded into the Proceedings.

Sixty-two years later, a spirit of reform was sweeping the country in reaction to the excesses of Big Business and harsh working conditions.  Progressive men wanted tools of direct democracy to counter these evils, while the daughters of the 1850 women were still waiting for their political equality. In 1912, Ohio men gaveled a Constitutional Convention into session. During five months, they deliberated 350 reforms and offered the [male] voters 42 amendments to approve at a September 3rd Special Election.  Amendment 23 would give Ohio women the right to vote in general elections for the first time.  To urge [male] voters to pass this amendment, Columbus suffragists invited women from all over Ohio to demonstrate in unity for their freedom.  On August 27, 1912, 5,000 women arrived in Columbus to march three miles in what the Columbus Citizen lauded as “Woman’s Suffrage Parade Greatest in State’s History.” 

Hear Belle Coit Kelton, Vice Chair of the suffrage parade, tell how the Columbus’ Centennial Celebration helped their demonstration, how they borrowed tactics from the “militant” British suffragette movement, and how difficult it was to persuade 1.3 million Ohio [male] voters to give up centuries of privileged institutional patriarchy in just three months.

Leslie Blankenship earned a Bachelor of Science (Secondary) Education degree from Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri, majoring in history and English with a minor in Political Science.  She came to Columbus in 1970 to study history in the Master’s Program at The Ohio State University where she first learned the story of the British suffragette movement.  She took the first Women’s History classes offered by OSU in 1972.  Along the way, she switched her pursuits to science and was employed by Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) in 1974 as a Marketing Communications Writer, using her education skills to inform scientists about the usefulness of CAS’ publications and services.  Retiring after 37 years in 2012, she began pursuing local history full time.  She was a founding member in 1996 of the Friends of Freedom (an Underground Railroad research organization) and has served on the boards of the Columbus Historical Society (mid-1990s), the Franklinton Historical Society since 1998, and the Ohio Local History Alliance 2013-2018.  She has been a Docent at the Kelton House Museum and Garden since 1990 where she first discovered the story of Belle Coit Kelton and the 1912 Ohio Woman Suffrage parade.

Modernizing Your Suffrage Sash - event cancelled, COVID-19

April 4, 2020

11:00AM-3:00PM

Alden Library 319 (Friends of the Library Room)

Co-Sponsored by the Women’s Center and Ohio University Libraries.

Suffragists, and particularly those associated with the National Woman’s Party (in the U.S.) or the Pankhurst's (in the U.K.) were known for pageantry. Suffragists utilized suffrage sashes to identify their organizations, states, and as method of delivery for their colors, which symbolized reasons as to why women should have the vote and/or their organization affiliation. In this session, participants may modernize a suffrage sash to represent their affiliation with current political or social movements.

 

Exhibit-Ohio Women Vote: 100 Years of Change

March 16, 2020 - April 5, 2020

Southeast Ohio History Center

This Ohio History Connection special panel traveling exhibit will examine and celebrate the path taken by Ohio women to achieve the right to vote, as well as the history of civic action led by a diverse spectrum of Ohio women throughout American history. This narrative will begin with the first women’s rights convention in 1848 and carry through the present day.

While telling this story, the exhibit will ask visitors to consider the intersections between various women’s movements and other American social movements such as the Civil Rights Movement and the Temperance Movement. Exploring these stories will require visitors to reckon with complicated questions of identity. For example, what does it mean to be a voter? To be a citizen? To be a woman? How can different parts of our identities change our experiences?

This traveling exhibit is presented in conjunction with the exhibit "Women Pioneers: Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Women's Suffrage."

Exhibit-Ohio Women Vote: 100 Years of Change

April 6, 2020 - April 26, 2020

Alden Library, Fourth Floor.

This Ohio History Connection special panel traveling exhibit will examine and celebrate the path taken by Ohio women to achieve the right to vote, as well as the history of civic action led by a diverse spectrum of Ohio women throughout American history. This narrative will begin with the first women’s rights convention in 1848 and carry through the present day.

While telling this story, the exhibit will ask visitors to consider the intersections between various women’s movements and other American social movements such as the Civil Rights Movement and the Temperance Movement. Exploring these stories will require visitors to reckon with complicated questions of identity. For example, what does it mean to be a voter? To be a citizen? To be a woman? How can different parts of our identities change our experiences?

This traveling exhibit is presented in conjunction with the exhibit "Women Pioneers: Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Women's Suffrage."

Both exhibits will be on the 4th floor of Alden Library and will be available for viewing anytime the 4th floor is open.

All are welcome.

FREE film showing and discussion: Iron Jawed Angels

 

April 14, 2020 (Please note that previously this date was listed incorrectly - April 14th is the correct date)

7:00PM

Athena Cinema (20 South Court Street)

Brought to you by the Athena Cinema and sponsored by Ohio University Libraries, School of Film, Multicultural Center, Black Student Cultural Programming Board, English Department, History Department, Women’s Center, and Arts for Ohio.

Free admission, as part of Athena Cinema’s Women Pioneers Series.

Alice Paul (Hilary Swank) was an American feminist who risked her life to fight for women’s citizenship and the right to vote. She founded the separatist National Woman’s Party and wrote the first equal rights amendment to be presented before Congress. Together with social reformer Lucy Burns (Frances O’Connor), Paul struggled against conservative forces to pass the 19th amendment and led a well-publicized hunger strike, earning her activists the moniker,” the iron-jawed angels.”

Art+Feminism Wikipedia-Edit-A-Thon

Please note, the Art+Feminism Wikipedia-Edit-A-Thon has been postponed (tentatively) until the Fall 2020 semester. Please visit our friends at University Libraries for more details.