1850

Married women have the right to own and control property

In Indiana, at the constitutional convention, Robert Dale Owen of Posey County proposes that married women have the right to own and control property. It does not pass.

1851
Woman’s Rights Association in Dublin

Woman’s Rights Association in Dublin

Indiana organizes the first statewide Woman’s Rights Association in Dublin. It’s widely considered one of the first state-level suffrage organizations.

1858
Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth

When former slave Sojourner Truth speaks in northern Indiana, opponents call her an imposter and demand that she bare her breast to prove she is a woman, which she does not.

1859
Dr. Mary F. Thomas

Dr. Mary F. Thomas

In Indiana, Dr. Mary F. Thomas, a Richmond physician, becomes the first woman allowed to speak before the Indiana state legislature.

1869

The IWRA begins meeting again

The Indiana Woman’s Rights Association begins meeting again, the first year that historians can document that African American women attended Indiana women’s suffrage meetings.

1870
The 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified

The 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified

The 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified, providing suffrage to all men regardless of “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” Women are not included.

1878

A Woman Suffrage Amendment is proposed in the U.S. Congress

A Woman Suffrage Amendment is proposed in the U.S. Congress. When the 19th Amendment passes 41 years later, it is worded exactly the same as this 1878 proposal.

1881

Indiana legislators approve an amendment granting Hoosier women the right to vote.

Indiana legislators approve an amendment granting Hoosier women the right to vote. Suffragists wait until the General Assembly convenes again in 1883 for final approval.

1883

When the General Assembly reconvenes in 1883, the 1881 amendment is nowhere to be found in the legislative record.

When the General Assembly reconvenes in 1883, the 1881 amendment is nowhere to be found in the legislative record. Thus it cannot be voted on and the amendment fails.

1897

Susan B. Anthony

Susan B. Anthony asks a joint session of the Indiana General Assembly to request a women’s suffrage amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

1912
Hoosier African American suffragists meet at Madam CJ Walker’s house to form their own suffrage organization.

Hoosier African American suffragists meet at Madam CJ Walker’s house to form their own suffrage organization.

Hoosier African American suffragists meet at Madam CJ Walker’s house to form their own suffrage organization.

1917

The Indiana legislature enacts three separate laws to give women the vote

The Indiana legislature enacts three separate laws to give women the vote, but two are declared unconstitutional by the Indiana Supreme Court. Hundreds of thousands of women’s new voter registrations are thrown out.

1918
President Woodrow Wilson states his support for a federal woman suffrage amendment.

President Woodrow Wilson states his support for a federal woman suffrage amendment.

President Woodrow Wilson states his support for a federal women’s suffrage amendment. The amendment passes the U.S. House of Representatives.

1919

The 19th Amendment proposal passes the U.S. Senate and the ratification process begins.

The 19th Amendment proposal passes the U.S. Senate and the ratification process begins.

1920

Indiana ratifies the 19th Amendment on January 26

Indiana ratifies the 19th Amendment on January 26; in August, enough states have ratified it that it becomes law—72 years after it was first called for at Seneca Falls.

1932
Virginia Jenckes of Terre Haute is elected to the U.S. House of Representatives

Virginia Jenckes of Terre Haute is elected to the U.S. House of Representatives

Virginia Jenckes of Terre Haute is elected to the U.S. House of Representatives—the first woman to represent the state of Indiana in Congress.

1965
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 passes, declaring that no one can be denied the right or ability to vote based on race.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 passes, declaring that no one can be denied the right or ability to vote based on race.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 passes, declaring that no one can be denied the right or ability to vote based on race.

1972
Title IX, championed by Indiana Senator Birch Bayh, passes.

Title IX, championed by Indiana Senator Birch Bayh, passes.

Title IX, championed by Indiana Senator Birch Bayh, passes. It bars gender discrimination in educational settings under penalty of denying federal assistance. It paves the way, among other things, for a surge in women’s athletics.

1977

Indiana becomes the 35th and last state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment

Indiana becomes the 35th and last state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment on January 18, barely squeaking through the state senate after Senator Wayne Townsend is influenced to change his vote. But the ERA never becomes law, because no additional states ratify it.

Sources:
Image: First women’s rights convention: Indiana Historical Bureau
Image: Sojourner Truth from National Women’s History Museum
Image: Dr. Mary F. Thomas from Morrisson-Reeves Library
Image: From www.History.com
Image: Madam CJ Walker from Indiana Historical Society
Image: Virginia Jenckes photo from Library of Congress
Image: President Lyndon B. Johnson and Martin Luther King, Jr., Clarence Mitchell, and Patricia Roberts Harris
from Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library.
Image: Senatorial Papers of Birch Bayh, Indiana University