Happy 100th Anniversary of the Massachusetts Ratification of the 19th Amendment. What’s that you say? You didn’t see anything in The Boston Globe this morning? Neither did I. (UPDATE – see below)
So, here’s your little known history fact of the day – on this day, June 25, 1919, the Massachusetts legislature ratified the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote. Massachusetts was the 8th state after the process began on June 10th in Illinois. In order to gain national confirmation to become U.S. law, an additional 28 states would need to confirm the ratification. The process slowly rolled across the country with each state staging its own debates and hearings. Another year would pass before Tennessee claimed the honor of being the 36th state to ratify on August 26, 1920. Note – only 36 states were required for the majority since we only had 48 states back in 1919-1920.*
Sometimes we forget 100 years is not so long ago. Many of our grandparents and those of their generation are living well into their 90s. My own maternal grandmother was a young bride in 1920 to witness the ratification. Dying in 1989, with full mental capacity, she also witnessed the addition of Geraldine Ferraro to the Presidential campaign ticket in 1984 as Walter Mondale’s running mate. She may have even cast her vote in 1984 for the Democratic ticket. I don’t know, and regret asking her.
Today, we have how many women candidates in the 2020 Presidential race? I’ve lost count. The important fact is they are running and they’re able to run thanks to the decades and decades of work by the suffragettes of the 1800s and early 1900s.
As a progressive woman of her times, Eliza will be supportive of the movement. Although she may not be an active campaigner, she could work behind the scenes in many ways, like attending a fundraising luncheon at Alva Vanderbilt Belmont’s Marble House in Newport where she would dine off of a custom made set of dishes (photo above) or tending to the Boston suffragists jailed for protesting or attending an outdoor gathering outside the MA State House on June 25, 1919 to hear the proclamation.
Perhaps, like me, your first brush with the suffragette movement, albeit British movement, came from a Disney movie scene and not your American history books. In the words of Mrs. Banks from Mary Poppins, join me in singing –
*Do you notice a similar trend here the last states to ratify, after it had already been passed as the 19th Amendment, didn’t occur until 1969 – 1984? Mississippi, North Carolina, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina. History does repeat itself you know – apparently even including a sensitivity and endorsement of women’s rights.
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#votesforwomen #19amendment #womenssuffrage
UPDATED, 6/26/19 – Nice to see coverage of Tuesday evening’s events by Alison Kuznitz in The Boston Globe: Modern-Day Suffragists Revel in 100th Anniversary of Voting Rights.