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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.

Alice Paul Organizes National Women's Party

In 1916, Paul organized the National Women’s Party

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

In her twenties, Alice Paul learned about the struggle for women’s voting rights while studying in England.  Back home in 1910, she joined the American movement.  Unlike her peers, Paul took a more radical approach.  She organized 5,000 women to parade Pennsylvania Avenue on March 3, 1913, the day before President Wilson’s inauguration.  Onlookers attacked them with obscenities and physical violence.  The police simply watched but national headlines made suffrage a hot topic.  

In 1916, Paul organized the National Women’s Party.  They picketed the white house.  Their banners mocked Wilson. Jailed for obstructing traffic, they staged hunger strikes.   Jailers responded with more brutality, including forced feeding, and declared her insane.

Public support for the prisoners convinced caused Wilson to get behind the suffrage amendment.  After it became law in 1920, Alice Paul proposed a further amendment: “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged on account of sex…”   known as the ERA, it was introduced in every congress from 1923 until passage in 1972.  Paul worked for ratification until her death in 1977.  Today, the ERA has yet to be added to the constitution. 

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


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