On Aug. 26, 1920, Hoosier women won the right to vote.
At first glance, the meaning behind that statement is simple. But the real story goes much deeper.
In Indiana, almost seventy years passed between the first calls for women’s voting rights and the passage of the 19th Amendment. And, though momentous, 1920 is just one milestone in a long and ongoing journey, and access to the voting booth is just one part of what it means to be an equal part of the democratic process.
In 2020, the Indiana Women’s Suffrage Centennial, catalyzed by Indiana Humanities, the Indianapolis Propylaeum, the Indiana Historical Society and the Indiana Historical Bureau, worked with many grassroots and local partners, making the anniversary of the 19th Amendment. We invited Hoosiers to honor the ideas and ideals that fueled the suffrage movement in Indiana, and the people who led the way; to engage in a conversation about inclusion, equity, perseverance and power; to consider what remains to be done to ensure that our democracy truly includes everyone; and to identify and act on the lessons of the women’s suffrage movement.
Today, women’s suffrage seems like an obvious component of democracy. One hundred years ago, it was a controversial idea that even some women opposed. Championing it required courage, perseverance and organized activism.
Dr. Anita Morgan, senior lecturer of history at IUPUI and author of a forthcoming book about Indiana women’s fight for the right to vote, overviews the major Hoosier milestones on the long path to the 19th Amendment.
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