Ms. is a proud media sponsor and partner of the League of Women Voters Los Angeles and UCLA Film and Television Archive’s Women to the Polls: Suffrage Film Festival. In this dedicated series, we’ll be syndicating the program in time with each day of screenings.
“EVERY SINGLE INCH OF GROUND THAT WOMEN STAND ON TODAY HAS BEEN GAINED BY THE HARD WORK OF SOME LITTLE HANDFUL OF WOMEN OF THE PAST.” —SUSAN B. ANTHONY
The passage of the 19th amendment to the Constitution on August 26, 1920 didn’t happen overnight. There were many stops on the road to ratification.
With its beginnings in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848, the campaign to win the vote took over 72 years, involved thousands of women and men and was one of the longest and most dramatic political battles ever fought in the United States. The leaders of the suffrage movement are heroes who were fearless in the face of ridicule, arrest, imprisonment and even torture.
The long struggle has great political and social significance, yet it is virtually unacknowledged in the chronicles of American history.
If you are a woman who wears pants, votes at election time or signs a contract to rent an apartment or to get a credit card, then you owe a debt to those who fought so long and hard for your rights. If you take for granted that you are the guardian of your own children, you owe them. If you assume that your paycheck will be written to you instead of to your husband, you owe them. If you are a man who proudly sends his daughter off to college, you also owe them.
We all owe the suffragists who secured the vote. Use it!