Celebrating the Centennial of Womens’ Right to Vote with Inspirational Women in History

#PositivelyPowerstories – August 11, 2020 – Episode 16

Powerstories Theatre stages true stories to open minds and hearts and inspire action worldwide.

Each week we will share 8 submissions or more from our neighbors around the city, country, and globe. Please enjoy all the stories that bring a smile to our faces and joy to our hearts. To send us your own story, click the button to complete our form, and upload your own work.

After you’ve finished, please click take the survey at the bottom of this page to let us know your favorites.

Video by Founder Fran Powers

  • Tampa, FL

Story Submitted By Janice Creneti

I learn from wise women in history. Like Margaret Meade who says “ Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” And when I loose faith, I think about Rosa Parks. She had every excuse NOT to stand up for herself. She did what she could do right then, right there. She sat in the front of the bus and she didn’t move!? And her one action created a ripple that changed the world. There is a Rosa in each of us; we just need to set her free.

PAST PERFORMER

  • Pinellas County, FL

Poetry Submitted By Suzanne S. Austin-Hill

Call: Favorite Women in History: Ruby Nell Bridges, age 6

The Accuracy of the Painter’s Eye

Norman never saw Ruby
when she was a little girl making history.
He just painted her the way he imagined.
Starched, crisp whites cover her sweet, dark chocolate
skin;
This highest of contrasts is a harbinger of the storm that
rages around her calm.

The white ribbon in her hair seems to sway ever so
slightly like a tiny flag signaling
her innocent surrender to the storm
she knows nothing about.
She is a small, yet commanding presence.
Her profile reveals a Mona Lisa-like smile.

The little girl looks straight ahead,
dreams wildly,
and cradles in her hand
two notebooks, two pencils and a ruler.
She is focused, inwardly excited and prepared.

But, the wall parallel to her walk bears the marks of the storm – A web-like splatter from a red, ripe tomato,
Drips leave a trail that ends at the sidewalk;
Smashed pieces of its flesh and pulp
confirm the target of the unsuccessful pitcher.

The little girl named Ruby.
The N-word sits right above her head.
A triplet of Ks curve upward.

Two Deputy U. S. Marshals
walk three paces behind her.
Another two walk one pace ahead.
The Lead Marshal has the integration order
tucked in his pocket. They are faceless.
It is clear who the hero is not.

Norman never saw Ruby
when she was a little girl making history.
He just painted her the way she was – a kindergartener
thinking the commotion ahead was Mardi Gras.

Sixty-seven Pages from the Heart
Suzanne S. Austin-Hill
© December 31, 2019
Kindle Direct Publishing

2nd Honorable Mention
2019 Annual Poetry Contest
National Federation of State Poetry Societies, Inc.
Al Laster Memorial Award – Ekphrastic poem

  • Ruskin, FL

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  • St. Petersburg, FL

Video Submitted by Girlstories Leadership Theatre by Powerstories Theatre

Story Submitted By Baxter Powers

My mommy is an amazing woman. Honored at The White House, Community Hero, rode her bike across the US which resulted in Powerstories. Great Mom to my five brothers sand sisters.

First Photo – Here I am with my Papa and my little sister Lulu. It was our first day in our new home. My Mom was always taking pictures of us.

Second Photo – Here I am with Lulu again. She was always pinning me down! Argh!

Third Photo – Here I am today. All grown up. I watch over my Mom and Dad and my little sister. We all love each other.

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  • Tampa, FL

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  • Anacortes, WA

Story Submitted By Joyce Hindman

My mother was born in 1924. In 1948, she married a returned soldier, my father. She was a feisty Irish-German ancestry lady, mostly a woman of her time: homemaker, mother. But she was also quietly strong, and she taught her three daughters how to be supportive of a husband but not a doormat, how to make the best when things get hard. To always have your door open, and never let anyone leave your table hungry. She was always her own self, so much so that when she and my father married, she took “and obey” out of her vows; a somewhat shocking thing for a good Methodist girl. They were married nearly 50 years, until his death, and she never did obey.

  • Stratford, NJ

Artwork Submitted By Kaedin Cammareri

  • New Port Richey, FL

Story Submitted By Amanda Pugh

Sue Shelton White- native of Jackson Tn who was a pioneer in the women’s suffrage movement and played a major part in Tennessee’s being the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. Also Annie Webb Blanton, founder of Delta Kappa Gamma, an international organization for women educators. These women’s are my personal heroes for their amazing efforts to better women.

  • Lexington, TN

Story Submitted By Rebecca Schweigert

This is not my story but that of Belva Ann Lockwood, who is sadly under represented in history. SHE was the first legitimate woman POTUS candidate when she ran in 1884 because Victoria Woodhull wasn’t old enough to serve if elected. Ms. Lockwood was the 1st woman to earn the right to argue in front of SCOTUS. She did a lot of what she did as a single mother, too. Here is more information about her. What an inspiration! https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belva_Ann_Lockwood

  • Middleport, NY

Story Submitted by Vicki Bills

I was born to be a teacher. As a young child, I would put my stuffed animals in a row and teach them with a pencil in my hand. When my younger brother was able to sit, I put him in the class too. My older brother went to school. He had homework. He could […]

  • Stafford, VA

Story Submitted By Michele Lewis-Muzzatti

My maternal grandmother was born in 1905, the oldest of 7 children. Her mother died when she was 16 leaving her to raise her younger siblings as her father was an alcoholic. She didn’t marry until she was 31 and my grandfather was 5 years younger: an original cougar! LOL! My grandmother was a badass. There wasn’t anything she couldn’t do. After my grandfather died, she got her driver’s license @ 72 years old. She also cut her own grass (nearly 1/2 an acre) with a push mower well into her 70s. I’m so grateful to have had her as a big part of my life and have inherited a piece of her tenacity and fierceness.

  • Silver Spring, MD

Story Submitted By Pegotty Cooper

My mother always had a different view. As an awkward teenager, my sister and I would obsess about how we looked, our blatant imperfections, the style of our clothes, our hand-me-down. Mom would say “no one will notice on a galloping horse”! It may have seemed like an archaic idea – after all we didn’t use horses anymore for getting from here to there. But years later, I still remember the saying, long after my mother has galloped on! She lived her life on a galloping horse! Always moving, always engaged in something interesting. She was never at a loss for stories about recent adventures, or tales of trying new things. To her, if you had time to worry about the small stuff, it was time to get on the galloping horse because then no one would notice as you whizzed by! The future is nothing if not an adventure!

PAST PERFORMER

  • Tampa, FL

Story Submitted by Vicki Bills

I was born to be a teacher. As a young child, I would put my stuffed animals in a row and teach them with a pencil in my hand. When my younger brother was able to sit, I put him in the class too. My older brother went to school. He had homework. He could […]

Video Submitted By Alexandra Wright

  • Tampa, FL

Video Submitted By Kerry Shea

  • Logan,

Historic Timeline

1777: Women lost the right to vote in the state of New York.[1]

1780s

1780: Women lost the right to vote in Massachusetts.[1]

1784: Women lost the right to vote in New Hampshire.[1]

1787: The U.S. Constitutional Convention places voting qualifications in the hands of the states. Women in all states except New Jersey lose the right to vote.[1]

1790s

1790: The U.S. state of New Jersey grants the vote to “all free inhabitants,” including women.[2]

1807: Women lose the right to vote in New Jersey, the last state to revoke the right.[1]

1830s

1838: Kentucky passes the first statewide woman suffrage law allowing female heads of household in rural areas to vote in elections deciding on taxes and local boards for the new county “common school” system.[3]

1840s

1848: The Seneca Falls Convention, the first women’s rights convention, is held in Seneca Falls, New York. Women’s suffrage is proposed by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and agreed to after an impassioned argument from Frederick Douglass.

1850s

1850: The first National Woman’s Rights Convention, in Worcester, Massachusetts, attracts more than 1,000 participants from 11 states.[4]

1853: On the occasion of the World’s Fair in New York City, suffragists hold a meeting in the Broadway Tabernacle.[2]

1860s

1861–1865: The American Civil War. Most suffragists focus on the war effort, and suffrage activity is minimal.[2]

1866: The American Equal Rights Association, working for suffrage for both women and African Americans, is formed at the initiative of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.[1]

1867: Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Lucy Stone address a subcommittee of the New York State Constitutional Convention requesting that the revised constitution include woman suffrage. Their efforts fail.

1867: Kansas holds a state referendum on whether to enfranchise women and/or black males. Lucy Stone, Susan B. Anthony, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton traverse the state speaking in favor of women’s suffrage. Both women’s and black male suffrage is voted down.[5]

1868: The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified, introducing the word “male” into the Constitution for the first time, in Section 2 of the amendment.

1869: The territory of Wyoming is the first to grant unrestricted suffrage to women.[2]

1869: The suffrage movement splits into the National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association. The NWSA is formed by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony after their accusing abolitionist and Republican supporters of emphasizing black civil rights at the expense of women’s rights. The AWSA is formed by Lucy Stone, Julia Ward Howe, and Thomas Wentworth Higginson, and it protests the confrontational tactics of the NWSA and ties itself closely to the Republican Party while concentrating solely on securing the vote for women state by state.[6] Elizabeth Cady Stanton was the first president of the National Woman Suffrage Association.[7] Julia Ward Howe was the first president of the American Woman Suffrage Association.[8]

1870s

1870: The Utah Territory grants suffrage to women.[5]

1870: The 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is adopted. The amendment holds that neither the United States nor any State can deny the right to vote “on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude,” leaving open the right of States to deny the right to vote on account of sex. Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton oppose the amendment. Many of their former allies in the abolitionist movement, including Lucy Stone, support the amendment.[5]

1871: Victoria Woodhull speaks to the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, arguing that women have the right to vote under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but the committee does not agree.[5]

1871: The Anti-Suffrage Society is formed.[1]

1872: A suffrage proposal before the Dakota Territory legislature loses by one vote.[2]

1872: Susan B. Anthony registers and votes in Rochester, New York, arguing that the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives her that right. However, she is arrested a few days later.[5] Victoria Woodhull was the first female to run for President of the United States, nominated by the Equal Rights Party, with a platform supporting women’s suffrage and equal rights.

1873: The trial of Susan B. Anthony is held. She is denied a trial by jury and loses her case. She never pays the $100 fine for voting.[1]

1873: There is a suffrage demonstration at the Centennial of the Boston Tea Party.[1]

1875: In the case of Minor v. Happersett, the Supreme Court rules that the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does not grant women the right to vote.[2]

1874: There is a referendum in Michigan on women’s suffrage, but women’s suffrage loses.[2]

1875: Women in Michigan and Minnesota win the right to vote in school elections.[2]

1878: A federal amendment to grant women the right to vote is introduced for the first time by Senator Aaron A. Sargent of California. Though initially unsuccessful, the amendment would eventually become the 19th Amendment.[2][9]

1880s

1880: New York state grants school suffrage to women.[5]

1882: The U.S. House and Senate both appoint committees on women’s suffrage, which both report favorably.[1]

1883: Women in the Washington territory are granted full voting rights.[2]

1884: The U.S. House of Representatives debates women’s suffrage.[1]

1886: The suffrage amendment is defeated two to one in the U.S. Senate.[1]

1887: The Edmunds–Tucker Act takes the vote away from women in Utah in order to suppress the Mormon vote in the Utah territory.[1]

1887: The Supreme Court strikes down the law that enfranchised women in the Washington territory.[2]

1887: In Kansas, women win the right to vote in municipal elections.[2]

1887: Rhode Island becomes the first eastern state to vote on a women’s suffrage referendum, but it does not pass.[2]

1888–1889: Wyoming had already granted women voting and suffrage since 1869–70; now they insist that they maintain suffrage if Wyoming joins the Union.

1890s

1890: The National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association merge to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Its first president is Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The focus turns to working at the state level. Wyoming renewed general women’s suffrage, becoming the first state to allow women to vote.[1][2][6]

1890: A suffrage campaign loses in South Dakota.[1]

1893: After a campaign led by Carrie Chapman Catt, Colorado men vote for women’s suffrage.[1]

1894: Despite 600,000 signatures, a petition for women’s suffrage is ignored in New York.[1]

1895: The New York State Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage begins.[2]

1895: The National American Woman Suffrage Association dissociates itself from Elizabeth Cady Stanton‘s The Woman’s Bible, a critique of Christianity.[2]

1896: Women’s suffrage returns to Utah upon gaining statehood.[1][10]

1896: The National American Woman Suffrage Association hires Ida Husted Harper to launch an expensive suffrage campaign in California, which ultimately fails.[2]

1896: Idaho grants women suffrage.[1]

1897: The National American Woman Suffrage Association begins publishing the National Suffrage Bulletin, edited by Carrie Chapman Catt.[2]

1902: Women from 10 nations meet in Washington, D.C. to plan an international effort for suffrage. Clara Barton is among the speakers.[2]

1902: The men of New Hampshire vote down a women’s suffrage referendum.[2]

1904: The National American Woman Suffrage Association adopts a Declaration of Principles.[1]

1904: Because Carrie Chapman Catt must attend to her dying husband, Rev. Dr. Anna Howard Shaw takes over as president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.[2]

1906: Elizabeth Cady Stanton‘s daughter, Harriot Stanton Blatch, returns from England and forms the Equality League of Self Supporting Women with a membership based on professional and industrial working women. It initiates the practice of holding suffrage parades.[11]

1908: The first suffrage march in the United States is held in Oakland, California on August 27, co-led by Johanna Pinther of San Francisco’s Glen Park, her step-daughter-in-law Jeanette Pinther of Noe Valley, San Francisco,[12] and Lillian Harris Coffin[13] of Marin County, California. Followed by as many as 300 women, they carried the banner[14] for the California Equal Suffrage Association[15] hand-sewn and embroidered by Johanna Pinther. The women marched nearly a mile along Broadway in Oakland to the site of the California State Republican Convention to demand California suffrage be added to the Republican platform (state Democratic and Labor parties had already done so). California Republicans would not add suffrage until their next state convention in 1909.[16]

1910s

1910: Emma Smith DeVoe organizes a grassroots campaign in Washington State, where women win suffrage.[2]

1910: Harriet Stanton Blatch‘s Equality League changes its name to the Women’s Political Union.[2]

1910: Emulating the grassroots tactics of labor activists, the Women’s Political Union organizes America’s first large-scale suffrage parade, which is held in New York City.[2]

1910: Washington grants women the right to vote.[17]

1911: California grants women suffrage.[1]

1911: In New York City, 3,000 people march for women’s suffrage.[1]

1912: Theodore Roosevelt’s Progressive Party includes women’s suffrage in its platform.[1]

1912: Abigail Scott Duniway dissuades members of the National American Woman Suffrage Association from involving themselves in Oregon’s grassroots suffrage campaign; Oregon women win the vote.[2]

1912: Arizona grants women suffrage.[1]

1912: Kansas grants women suffrage.[1]

1912: Alaska’s territorial legislature grants women suffrage.[2]

1913: Alice Paul becomes the leader of the Congressional Union (CU), a militant branch of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.[2]

1913: Alice Paul organizes the Woman’s Suffrage Procession, a parade in Washington, D.C. on the eve of Woodrow Wilson‘s inauguration. It is the largest suffrage parade to date. The parade is attacked by a mob, and hundreds of women are injured but no arrests are made.[1][2][18]

1913: The Alaskan Territory grants women suffrage.[1]

1913: Illinois grants municipal and presidential but not state suffrage to women.[1]

1913: Kate Gordon organizes the Southern States Woman Suffrage Conference, where suffragists plan to lobby state legislatures for laws that will enfranchise white women only.[2]

1913: The Senate votes on a women’s suffrage amendment, but it does not pass.[2]

1914: Nevada grants women suffrage.[2]

1914: Montana grants women suffrage.[2]

1914: The Congressional Union alienates leaders of the National American Woman Suffrage Association by campaigning against anti-suffrage Democrats in the congressional elections.[2]

1915: Carrie Chapman Catt replaces Anna Howard Shaw as president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, partly due to the constant turmoil on the National Board caused by Shaw’s lack of administrative expertise.[19]

1916: Alice Paul and others break away from the National American Woman Suffrage Association and form the National Woman’s Party.[1]

1916: Woodrow Wilson promises that the Democratic Party Platform will endorse women’s suffrage.[2]

1916: Montana elects suffragist Jeannette Rankin to the House of Representatives.[2] She is the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress.[20]

1917: Beginning in January, the National Woman’s Party posts silent “Sentinels of Liberty,” also known as the Silent Sentinels, at the White House. The National Woman’s Party is the first group to picket the White House. In June, the arrests begin. Nearly 500 women are arrested, and 168 serve jail time.[1][21][22]

November 14, 1917: The “Night of Terror” occurs at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia, in which suffragist prisoners are beaten and abused.[23]

1917: The U.S. enters W.W.I. Under the leadership of Carrie Chapman Catt, the National American Woman Suffrage Association aligns itself with the war effort in order to gain support for women’s suffrage.[2]

1917: Arkansas grants women the right to vote in primary, but not general elections.[2]

1917: Rhode Island grants women presidential suffrage.[1]

1917: The New York state constitution grants women suffrage.[1] New York is the first Eastern state to fully enfranchise women.[2]

1917: The Oklahoma state constitution grants women suffrage.[1]

1917: The South Dakota state constitution grants women suffrage.[1]

1918: The jailed suffragists are released from prison. An appellate court rules all the arrests were illegal.[1]

1918: The Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which eventually granted women suffrage, passes the U.S. House with exactly a two-thirds vote but loses by two votes in the Senate. Jeannette Rankin opens debate on it in the House, and President Wilson addresses the Senate in support of it.[1][2]

1918: President Wilson declares his support for women’s suffrage.[1]

1919: Michigan grants women full suffrage.[2]

1919: Oklahoma grants women full suffrage.[2]

1919: South Dakota grants women full suffrage.[2]

1919: The National American Woman Suffrage Association holds its convention in St. Louis, where Carrie Chapman Catt rallies to transform the association into the League of Women Voters.[2]

1919: In January, the National Women’s Party lights and guards a “Watchfire for Freedom.” It is maintained until the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution passes the U.S. Senate on June 4.[1]

1920s

1920: The Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified, stating:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.[24]

1920: In the case of Hawke v. Smith, anti-suffragists file suit against the Ohio legislature, but the Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of Ohio’s ratification process.[2]

1922: Fairchild v. Hughes, 258 U.S. 126 (1922),[25] is a case in which the Supreme Court held that a general citizen, in a state that already had women’s suffrage, lacked standing to challenge the validity of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment. A companion case, Leser v. Garnett upheld the ratification.[26][27][28]

1922: Leser v. Garnett, 258 U.S. 130 (1922),[29] is a case in which the Supreme Court held that the Nineteenth Amendment had been constitutionally established.

1924: Native American women played a vital role in passing the Nineteenth Amendment[citation needed], but are still unable to reap the benefits until four years later on June 24, 1924 when the American government grants citizenship to Native Americans through the Indian Citizenship Act. However, many states nonetheless make laws and policies which prohibit Native Americans from voting, and many are effectively barred from voting until 1948.

1940s

1943: Chinese immigrants are no longer barred from becoming US citizens with the passage of the Magnuson Act, allowing some Chinese immigrants, including women, to become naturalized and gain the right to vote.

1950s

1952: The race restrictions of the 1790 Naturalization Law are repealed by the McCarran-Walter Act, giving first generation Japanese Americans, including women, citizenship and voting rights.

1960s

1964: The Twenty-fourth Amendment is ratified by two-thirds of the states, formally abolishing poll taxes and literacy tests which were heavily used against African-American and poor white women and men.

1965: The Voting Rights Act of 1965 strenuously prohibits racial discrimination in voting, resulting in greatly-increased voting by African American women and men.

1966: Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections strikes down poll taxes at all levels of government.

1980s

1984: Mississippi becomes the last state in the union to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment.[30]

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