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#19SuffrageStories Countdown: Stories 14 to 10

Orange flyer with red text. Says: Votes for Women. Oklahoma Woman Suffrage Association at the top. Most of the text is in Chickasaw. Large text added on top of artifact: Chickasaw Women 1910.

Chickasaw woman suffrage handbill, 1910. Dibner Library, Smithsonian Institution Libraries.

The Smithsonian, Library of Congress, and National Archives are sharing 19 lesser-known stories of suffragists to mark the centennial of the 19th Amendment. See last week's stories and use our new set of women's history-inspired animated gifs and Instagram stickers on your social media posts.


Story 14: Susan B. Anthony and 14 Other Women Arrested

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Federal document from the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of New York. Large Text: 14 Women Arrested
U.S. vs. Susan B. Anthony, Record of Conviction, June 28, 1873. National Archives, Records of District Courts of the United States.
 

Susan B. Anthony and 14 other women were arrested for voting in an 1872 election in Rochester, New York. Anthony was charged with "wrongfully and unlawfully" voting for a candidate for Congress from the City of Rochester, "being then and there a person of the female sex." She was convicted and sentenced to pay a $100 fine and court costs. She never paid.

Some suffragists pursued a legal path to the polls by claiming that the 14th Amendment granted women the right to vote. Hundreds of women nationwide, including Anthony, tried to register and to vote in the decades before the 19th Amendment.

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Story 13: Nellie Quander's Letter to Alice Paul

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Historic letter on Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority stationery. Additional text: Suffrage Parade 1913
Nellie M. Quander to Alice Paul, February 17, 1913. National Woman’s Party Records, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress.
 

In 1913, Nellie Quander, president of the nation's oldest Black sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, wrote to Alice Paul, chair for a major upcoming Washington, D.C., parade, planned to attract national attention for the cause on the day before the inauguration of President Woodrow Wilson. "We do not wish to enter if we must meet with discrimination on account of race affiliation," Quander wrote. "Can you assign us to a desirable place in the college women's section?"

Parade planners questioned whether African American women would be allowed to participate, and if they would be segregated. Alice Paul attempted to exclude black women from participating because she feared white women would not march alongside them. The National American Woman Suffrage Association forced Paul to allow participation. One plan had white and African American women marchers separated by men's suffrage leagues.

Accounts of what transpired differ. Many African American suffragists were segregated, but not all.

Some women of color opposed the attempt to racially segregate the parade by walking beside white women. Civil rights crusader Ida B. Wells-Barnett marched alongside the all-white Illinois delegation and Marie Louise Bottineau Baldwin (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa) marched with fellow woman lawyers.

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12: Twelve Resolutions

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Old yellowed document on a starry graphic design background.
Report of the Woman's Rights Convention, held at Seneca Falls, New York, July 19th and 20th, 1848. Proceedings and Declaration of Sentiments. Library of Congress.
 

Elizabeth Cady Stanton's "Declaration of Sentiments" listed 12 resolutions—11 written by Stanton, and the 12th by activist Lucretia Mott—calling for the moral, economic, and political equality of women. The most radical demand was "the elective franchise," or right to vote.

The document became the foundation of the agenda for the nation's first woman's rights convention at Seneca Falls, New York. In July 1848, more than 300 women and men attended the two-day convention. While 100 attendees signed the Declaration, not everyone present thought it should include a call for suffrage.

The original Declaration is believed to be lost. This rare printed version in the Library of Congress is from Frederick Douglass' newspaper The North Star. Douglass was one of 32 men who signed the Declaration.

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11: California Women Win Suffrage in 1911

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Lady Liberty, wearing a cape labeled "Votes for Women," stands astride the states (colored white) that had adopted suffrage. She is walking towards the east, where women reach out for her. Text: 1911 California Women's Suffrage
"The Awakening" by Henry Mayer, from the Library of Congress. 1915. Published by Puck Publishing Corporation.
 

In 1911, women in California were guaranteed their right to vote. In the next three years, more than four million women had voting rights equal to men in 11 states as the movement gained traction from West to East.

Henry Mayer's "The Awakening" was the centerfold of a special suffrage issue of Puck Magazine, guest-edited by New York suffrage groups. The 1915 illustration was a symbol for women who were still fighting for their right to vote and reaching for the light of Liberty's torch of freedom.

Before the 19th Amendment, some women in some states, mostly in the West, were able to vote. The stars on this handmade flag represent the four states in which women could vote by 1900: Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and Idaho. In 1917, New York was the first eastern state to enfranchise women. As laws changed to enfranchise women in different states before the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920, many were excluded from the polls, especially women of color, even after it went into effect.

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10: Chickasaw Handbill for Women's Suffrage from 1910

Orange flyer with red text. Says: Votes for Women. Oklahoma Woman Suffrage Association at the top. Most of the text is in Chickasaw. Large text added on top of artifact: Chickasaw Women 1910.
Chickasaw woman suffrage handbill, 1910. Dibner Library, Smithsonian Institution Libraries.

This 1910 handbill encouraged Chickasaw women and men to support women's suffrage. Chickasaw women were part of a matrilineal tribal society. Also, they could not vote in Oklahoma.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, governments counted most American Indians as members of sovereign nations or dependents under guardianship of the U.S. In either case, they were not considered citizens and could not vote. Even those who were U.S. citizens could not vote in all states or in all elections.

Suffragists from Oklahoma and American Indian territories met in 1904 and established a joint suffrage association. They adopted a pro-statehood resolution that said no law should be enacted "restricting the right of suffrage on account of sex, race, color, or previous condition of servitude."

Congress granted citizenship to all American Indian women and men in 1924, four years after the passage of the 19th Amendment. But not all states allowed American Indians to vote. Some could not vote until the second half of the 20th century. Throughout that time, American Indians activists fought for their people's voting rights.

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Continue the countdown with stories 9 to 4 or go back to read stories 19 to 15.

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