New York City women’s march, October 23 ,1915. Photo: Library of Congress.
2020 is an American presidential election year, and whether or not we finally see a woman in the country’s highest office, this year officially marks the centennial of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote. Among the celebrations we’ll see throughout the nation, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Monumental Women will be honoring the life and accomplishments of Susan B. Anthony in Madison Square Park on Friday, February 14th, a day before the pioneering feminist’s 200th birthday on February 15th. Brewer also issued a proclamation declaring February 15th as Susan B. Anthony Day in Manhattan.
Rendering of “Women’s Rights Pioneer Monument” (courtesy of Monumental Women).
Expect cookies and festivities at the Manhattan event in celebration of the life and accomplishments of the pioneering feminist, women’s suffrage leader, abolitionist, author, and civil rights activist, beginning at 11:30 AM in Madison Square Park at the corner of 23rd Street and Broadway. Later this year, Anthony, along with the suffragists and abolitionists Sojourner Truth and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, will be immortalized in the Women’s Rights Pioneers Monument, to be unveiled in Central Park on August 26, the 100th-anniversary date of the ratification of the 19th Amendment.
The centennial celebration certainly isn’t limited to New York City. Exhibitions and tours throughout the country are paying tribute to this American milestone. The New York Times lists several opportunities to learn more about the 19th amendment. Tour operators have been adding programming that highlights the centennial. Educational travel organization Road Scholar, for example, has added four new women’s suffrage trips this year; the six-day trips combine a visit to upstate New York with classroom education and lectures; two are sold out.
The National Susan B. Anthony Museum and House in Rochester, N.Y. regularly offers tours of the national landmark where Anthony was arrested for voting as a woman before it was legal. 13,000 people visit the museum annually; this year’s program will include “Votercade 2020,” a free series of daylong events with artistic and philosophical discussions happening through October 3rd.
Seneca Falls, N.Y., known as the official birthplace of women’s rights, offers a new self-guided tour, Celebrate 100, which suggests highlights to visit, including Wesleyan Chapel where the first convention was held in 1848, the National Women’s Hall of Fame in the rehabilitated Seneca Knitting Mill and the home of Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
In Sherwood, N.Y., The Opendore Project, a restored Victorian house where abolitionist and suffrage activities took place, opens this year showcasing one of the nation’s most well-preserved collections of women’s suffrage posters.
In the Midwest, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan–the first states to ratify the 19th amendment–have created exhibitions highlighting local heroines, including one at the Wisconsin Historical Museum in Madison, Wis. titled “We Stand on Their Shoulders,” which opens this month.
In the South, More Than Tours in Montgomery, Ala. will do a special version of their walking and trolley tour this March with a focus on women’s rights.
In Washington, the Library of Congress unveiled “Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote,” which will run through September. The Smithsonian highlights women’s achievements in an exhibition titled “Creating Icons: How We Remember Women’s Suffrage,” opening on March 6.
In Philadelphia, “The 19th Amendment: How Women Won the Vote” opens on June 10.
In Utah, Better Days 2020 is celebrating the first votes by Utah women by hosting events at the state capitol February 10 through 14, culminating in Utah Women’s Voter Registration Day on Friday. For more information about women’s suffrage in Utah, visit betterdays2020.com.
In addition to local programming throughout the state, Colorado will be saluting 100 years of women’s suffrage with an online exhibit courtesy of the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame on Google Arts and Culture. The exhibit explores the contributions of local activists as they earned the right to vote for the women of Colorado, then set their sights on enfranchising women across the nation.
For more centennial programs and events, 2020centennial lists museums, institutions, nonprofits, and groups around the country are celebrating and honoring the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. You can search for suffrage projects and events in your state or discover ongoing suffrage exhibits in museums around the US.
- How the Men’s League for Women’s Suffrage helped win voting rights in New York
- Brownstones and ballot boxes: The fight for women’s suffrage in Brooklyn
- MAP: Explore the women’s suffrage movement through the lens of NYC landmarks
- Women’s History Month began in New York in 1909 to honor the city’s garment workers’ strike
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