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00000174-a288-ddc3-a1fc-bedb7f240000On August 18, 1920, Congress ratified the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, giving women the right to vote.Women’s suffrage is a major event in American history and a milestone in the national aspiration of the equal right of every individual to participate in their government.To commemorate this historic event, the Kanawha Valley Chapter of the National Organization for Women has produced “One Hundred Years Ago,” 11 two-minute radio segments to highlight the decades of struggle in this movement. Three of these segments describe West Virginia’s dramatic role in the struggle.The production was based on extensive research conducted by Renate Pore (Ph.D. History, West Virginia University). Author, singer, songwriter, and graphic artist Colleen Anderson narrates the segments. The theme music “Possum Rag” was written by Geraldine Dobyns in 1907.Listen Tuesdays and Thursdays in the morning at 6:42 a.m. and in the afternoon at 4:49 p.m. in February and March.The series is made possible by a grant from The West Virginia Humanities Council.For more information about the West Virginia Centennial Celebration of the 19th Amendment, including a growing list of events planned throughout the state, visit https://sos.wv.gov/about/Pages/WV19Amend.aspx. Read about Kanawha Valley NOW activities on Facebook.

Women's Suffrage Activists Influenced by Anti-Slavery Movement

Discrimination against women in the Abolition movement led to the Seneca Falls Convention with broad goals for women’s rights, including the vote

One hundred years ago, women won the right to vote.

Many got their start as leaders in the anti-slavery movement.  But when women delegates attended the 1840 World Anti-Slavery Convention, they were relegated to the gallery.   This humiliation led to the seneca falls convention with broad goals for women’s rights, including the vote.

After the Civil War, suffragists expected legal changes to include women’s voting rights.  A series of constitutional amendments abolished slavery, granted citizenship to persons born in the us, including former slaves, and guaranteed a right to vote regardless of race. However, the 14th  Amendment inserted “male” into the US Constitution for purposes of voting.  The suffragists felt bitterly betrayed; some campaigned against the 14th and 15th Amendments.  Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote: “If that word ‘male’ be inserted, it will take us a century … to get it out.” Shamefully the former slaves enjoyed less than a decade of voting rights. Southern states enacted Jim Crow laws to prevent black voting.

Another century passed before the Federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 accomplished what the 14th and 15th Amendments had not.  So, in effect, white women got  to vote nearly half a century before black citizens did.

This message is a produced by the Kanawha valley National Organization for Women with funding from the WV Humanities Council.

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