by Ramona Flightner/ @ramonaflightner
August 26th marks Women’s Equality Day in the United States, commemorating the day in 1920 that women were granted the right to vote. The 19th Amendment passed by the slimmest of margins: one vote. A young state representative, who had previously voted to table the vote for the amendment changed his vote upon receiving a letter from his mother, extolling him to be a “good boy” and vote for ratification of the amendment. With all the liberties that I now take for granted as a woman, I find it hard to believe it is less than one hundred years since the amendment passed.
As those of you who have read my books know, suffragism is an important theme in my novels and I’ve enjoyed the continued research on the topic. The movement began in 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York, with a convention of men and women who put forth a document called the Declaration of Sentiments. In this document, the foundation for the women’s rights movement and suffrage movement was created. I was fortunate enough to visit Seneca Falls in 1998, 150 years after that momentous gathering. The women who met in Seneca Falls and began to agitate for the vote never saw their dream to fruition for it would take 72 years before women were granted the vote.
One small detail I had not realized until my aunt’s recent trip to Seneca Falls was that Susan B. Anthony was not at the Seneca Falls meeting. She met Elizabeth Cady Stanton a few years later.
Susan B. Anthony was arrested in 1872 for daring to vote in a federal election and her trial sparked renewed interest and vigor into the women’s suffrage movement. Here is the bench she sat on during her trial in 1872.
I would invite you to take a moment to say a silent thank you to these women for all they did in the struggle for women’s right to vote. The greatest sign of appreciation we could give them would be to vote in each election, no matter how great or small the election.