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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.

West Virginia Fails To Pass 1916 Women's Suffrage Referendum


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

As early as 1867, Samuel Young, a minister and state senator from Pocahontas county, introduced a resolution to give West Virginia Women the vote. It failed. In the early 1900s, West Virginia women organized suffrage clubs and, in 1916, tried to pass a state-wide referendum on the vote. When it failed miserably by a three to one margin, Julia Ruhl, president of the state suffrage association, acknowledged, “Our organization is in a demoralized condition.”

In 1917, West Virginians shifted their attention to support the US effort in World War I. After the war, the National American Women’s Suffrage Association proposed an amendment to the US Constitution giving women the right to vote. On June 3, 1919, Congress passed the 19th Amendment stating that “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex.”

By August 1920, thirty-six states had ratified it, including West Virginia. In November of that year, women were finally able to vote for the first time in a national election.

This message is produced­­­­ by the Kanawha Valley chapter of the National Organization for Women with support from the West Virginia Humanities Council.

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