Written by SCA student employee Katie Lawrence.
August 26th, 2020 marked the centennial anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, awarding women the right to vote after a decades-long battle. This amendment represents a breakthrough for the women of America, who had been attempting to assert their right to equality in the democratic process since the mid 19th century. After nearly 50 years spent protesting, debating, and demonstrating, these words were added to the constitution on August 26th, 1920:
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex
Though short, this one sentence opened a door that had remained stubbornly closed since 1776, even as other countries around the world began to recognize and award this basic measure of equality. 100 years later, August 26th is known as Women’s Equality Day, and Americans everywhere are celebrating one of many steps taken to combat discrimination on the basis of sex and those who had the courage to step up and fight for it.
To commemorate this occasion, the Special Collections and Archives Department of ZSR Library has published a subject guide on Women’s Suffrage Primary Sources The guide contains both print and digital sources spanning over a century: from the late 1800s to present day. Included are original articles by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and other suffragettes, present-day websites charting the evolution of the women’s movement beyond 1920, and even some early arguments published against women’s suffrage. This comprehensive guide offers those curious about the movement and its players a host of sources written from various points of view and moments in time. WFU students, faculty, and staff can also visit the National Archives and Records Administration exhibit “Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote” that is located in the Atrium of the library.