August 2020, marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which granted American women the right to vote at all levels of government. The amendment reads:
“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.”
It was a hard-fought victory, the result of decades of carving away at public opinion, and countless legislative battles all across the nation — including in Maine, where some of the earliest activism to secure women’s suffrage occurred. However, even after the battle for women’s suffrage was won, extending voting rights to all women regardless of race or economic status, was a war that continued for decades.
Here’s a quick resource roundup to explore the history of the women’s suffrage movement in Maine and beyond.
- Maine and the 19th Amendment, National Park Service
- 5 Black Suffragists Who Fought for the 19th Amendment, History.com
- Women’s Suffrage in Sheet Music, Library of Congress
- Votes for Women means Votes for Black Women, National Women’s History Museum
- Between Two Worlds: Black Women and the Fight for Voting Rights, National Park Service
- Women Remember Suffrage, PBS
- Susan B. Anthony Papers, Library of Congress
- Women’s Suffrage Timeline,” National Park Service
Recent news articles:
- Maine Was an Early Battleground in the Struggle to Secure Women’s Right to Vote, Bangor Daily News, August 17, 2020
- Meet the Brave but Overlooked Women of Color Who Fought for the Vote, New York Times, July 24, 2020
- This Is Not a Boring History of Nagging Spinsters, New York Times, July 10, 2020
- Black Women’s Long Struggle for Voting Rights, The Wall Street Journal, July 31, 2020
Explore these online exhibits:
- Debates Over Suffrage, Maine Historical Society
- Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote, Library of Congress
- Rightfully Hers exhibit tour at the National Archives, United States National Archives
- And Nothing Less: The Untold Stories of Women’s Fight for the Vote, with Rosario Dawson and Retta, Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission, the National Park Service, PRX
Mark your calendars!
Curtis Library and the Brunswick League of Women’s Voters are collaborating for two events in October focusing on Voting Down the Rose: Florence Brooks Whitehouse and Maine’s Fight for Woman Suffrage by Anne Gass. Voting Down the Rose is a lively account of Maine native Florence Brooks Whitehouse’s efforts to win women voting rights in the decisive final years of the campaign, 1914-1920. Considered radical for picketing the White House, Florence helped win women suffrage against a backdrop of conservative views of women’s roles, political intrigues, WWI, and the 1918 influenza epidemic. The author, Anne Gass, is the great-granddaughter of Florence Brooks Whitehouse. Both events will take place via Zoom.
- Wednesday, Oct 14, 2020, 1:00 pm: Book Discussion of Voting Down the Rose
- Saturday, October 18, 2:00 pm: Anne Gass Author Talk
Map Note: State of Maine overlain with the purple, white, and gold of the suffrage flag, indicating that it was one of the 36 original states to ratify the 19th Amendment.