August 26, 2020

Commemorating an Incomplete Victory: The 19th Amendment at 100

Women at the Center, New-York Historical Society

This article originally appeared on the Women at the Center, New-York Historical Society website.

Early in the morning on August 26, 1920, Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby unceremoniously certified the ratification of the 19 Amendment at his home, depriving suffragists the opportunity to celebrate this moment representing decades of activism. One hundred years later, in the midst of a public health crisis and political unrest, we once again are limited in our capacity to gather together and take stock of how women have fared over the past century. The New-York Historical Society’s exhibition, Women March, which commemorates the centennial of the 19th Amendment as it explores the efforts of a wide range of women to expand American democracy in the centuries before and after the suffrage victory, is temporarily closed, but we are committed to sharing its ideas from afar. 

All this month, Women at the Center will draw from the exhibition to commemorate and complicate the centennial of the 19th Amendment. Blog posts will highlight the multiplicity of suffrage activism preceding the amendment’s ratification; the obstacles to suffrage that persisted even after the ratification of the 19th Amendment; and why the vote alone has been seen as an insufficient tool for fully exercising citizenship by activists whose work continues into the present. Read more...