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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.

Yost, Jones, and Brown Led Fight for Suffrage in West Virginia

Lenna Lowe Yost rallied the West Virginia Equal Suffrage Association to success in 1920
E-WV/The Humanities Council

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

The activists who led West Virginia’s suffrage movement faced more than sexism. Despite political setbacks, personal tragedies, and bad roads, they persisted.

Here are just three of those mighty women: a lifelong champion for women’s rights and education, Marion County resident Lenna Lowe Yost attended and later received an honorary doctorate from West Virginia Wesleyan College. She was the mother of a toddler in 1905 when she joined the West Virginia Equal Suffrage Association. After a bitterly disappointing referendum on the women’s vote in 1916, she rallied the group to success four years later.

Harriet B. Jones, born five years before the Civil War, was West Virginia’s first licensed female doctor, practicing in Wheeling. Active in the state’s suffrage movement from its beginning in 1895, she also ran a hospital, fought for women’s place in higher education, worked for children’s welfare, and served in the West Virginia House of Delegates.

Izetta Jewel Brown was an actress, Preston County dairy farmer, political candidate, and WPA administrator during the New Deal. She headed West Virginia’s chapter of the National Women’s Party. She lived to be ninety-five and, in her eighties, lobbied for the Equal Rights Amendment.

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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