The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitutions states that: "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 became a part of our Constitution one hundred years ago on August 18, 1920, when Tennessee, by a single vote, became the 36th state to ratify. The assage of the 19th amendment was the culmination of almost a century of struggle to secure the vote for women. However, despite its seemingly unequivocal language, ratification of the 19th Amendment did not achieve the vote for all American women. Native American women, African American women (particularly in the South) and poor women did not gain meaningful to the ballot until well into the 1960's.
Through the use of suffrage and other women's memorabilia from her private collection, Professor Carolyn S. Bratt will trace the work of the three generations of American women who lectured, wrote, marched, lobbied, and organized in pursuit of passage of the 19th Amendment as they endured ridicule, threats, beatings, jailings, and forced feedings by their opponents. She will also discuss why winning the ballot was not enough to secure real political, social and legal equality for women and how that work continues today.