Thursday was the 100th anniversary of the day Indiana formally ratified the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote. Indiana was the 26th state to ratify the women’s suffrage amendment, which went into effect Aug. 26, 1920, after the Tennessee legislature approval provided the necessary votes.
LWV members have participated in several special celebratory events this week. The Richard Lugar Series sponsored a suffrage celebration at the Propylaeum in Indianapolis on Wednesday. Following a dinner, Sally Perkins, a professional storyteller, speaker, educator and trainer, presented a delightful “Digging in Their Heels.” Most of our great-grandmothers weren’t allowed to speak in public, keep their own wages, attend colleg, or vote. Yet today, women are leaders in all sorts of industries. Perkins provided a comedic, fast-paced program recounting the suffrage movement which started with the handful of women in 1848 who demanded the right to vote and then worked so hard for 72 years before 19th Amendment was finally ratified.
On Thursday, the Indiana Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission celebrated the 100th anniversary with a full day of activities at the Statehouse. Women dressed in suffrage outfits arrived from all parts of Indiana, including Crawfordsville, to be welcomed by Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch. The pledge was given by the Girl Scouts of Central Indiana followed by a performance of the Capital City Chorus.
“The Five Things to Know about Indiana Women’s Suffrage History” was presented by Dr. Anita Morgan as well as an update on the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission. The large group of suffrage supporters traveled up to the House gallery to observe a resolution honoring the 100th anniversary at 10 a.m. The Senate presented the same resolution at its 1:30 p.m. session.
League members from throughout Indiana met with state senators and representatives to discuss issues most important in the upcoming legislative session. Between the morning and afternoon resolution presentations, a special luncheon was held for Leaguers in the History Reference Room at the State Library to discuss top issues. Redistricting reform is the LWV’s top priority, but there is much work to be done on other issues, including voting rights, gun safety, women’s health, natural resources and education.
The League of Women Voters was organized Feb. 14, 1920, six months before the final ratification of the 19th Amendment and is one of the oldest non-partisan organizations in the United States. It does not support any individual or political party. The League of Women Voters, now open to men as well as women, is committed to registering voters, encouraging voting and providing non-partisan information about candidates and current issues.
League advocacy positions are developed after extensive study of facts and interviews of individuals. When a member concurrence is reached, the position is formalized and the League then advocates in support of these positions. Inspired by our heritage, the LWV continues to work to encourage informed and active participation in government, to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and to influence public policy through education and advocacy.
For more information about the Montgomery County League, visit the website www.lwvmontcoin.org or send a message to LWV, P.O. 101, Crawfordsville, IN 47933.