Smart Talk Monday: The Vote; the 100th anniversary granting women the right to vote

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote. 

The fight for women’s suffrage was a decades-long battle that began even before the Civil War. Reform activists like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony were pioneers in the movement, though neither lived to see the fruition of their work. 

Philadelphia native Lucretia Mott also played a critical role in the early movement, along with other Pennsylvania women. Wilson College alumna Hannah Patterson was involved with many progressive-era reforms including women’s suffrage, as were Erie resident Augusta Fleming and Philadelphia’s Carrie Burnham. 

Pennsylvania women’s names feature prominently in the historic record of the Suffrage movement.  After Congress approved the 19th Amendment the ratification required approval by a minimum of 36 states. Pennsylvania ratified on June 24, 1919, but it would be more than a year later for the law to pass, once Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify.  

Smart Talk Monday visits the history of women’s suffrage in the nation and Pennsylvania, with guests Amy Ensley, Director of the Hankey Center for the History of Women’s Education at Wilson College, Curtis Miner, Ph.D., State Museum Senior Curator of History, and Cathleen Cahill, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History at Penn State University.

The State Museum of Pennsylvania is hosting a changing exhibit titled Why not In PA. Campaigning for women’s Suffrage in the Keystone State. The museum is slated to reopen to the public on July 22, but visitors are asked to check the museum website to confirm before making plans. To take a virtual tour of the exhibit visit the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission YouTube channel. 

The Vote is a production from American Experience that tells the dramatic culmination story of the hard-fought campaign waged by American women for the right to vote. The four-hour documentary begins Monday, July 6, with part 1, at 9pm on WITF TV.  Part 2 of The Vote airs Tuesday, July 7, at 9pm.