Today in Feminist History: The Ten-Year Anniversary of Suffrage (March 30, 1930)

March 30, 1930: Hard as it may be to believe, a decade has passed since the battle over the 19th Amendment was still being furiously fought.

PHOTO: Alice Stone Blackwell

The celebrations marking the end of that struggle on August 26, 1920, are already well under way—and all generations of suffragists will be honored during this 10th anniversary year.

It was announced today that when the League of Women Voters meets in Louisville, Kentucky, from April 28th until May 3rd, many of those who spent decades in the forefront of the “Votes for Women” struggle will attend. Among those to be honored is Alice Stone Blackwell.

Born on September 14, 1857, she is the daughter of Lucy Stone (1818-1893) and Henry B. Blackwell (1825-1909). Upon graduation from Boston University in 1881, she joined her parents as an editor of the influential “Woman’s Journal” and continued at that work until 1917, when the Journal was sold and merged with two other publications to become the “Woman Citizen.” Blackwell has since written a biography of her mother (“Lucy Stone: Pioneer of Women’s Rights”) to be published this year by Liittle, Brown & Company.

Another veteran suffragist who will be attending is Carrie Chapman Catt. Born on January 9, 1859, she became an active suffragist in the 1880s, and served as president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association from 1900 to 1904, succeeding Susan B. Anthony.

She was chosen to lead N.A.W.S.A. again during the crucial years of 1915 to 1920. In 1919, Catt proposed that a League of Women Voters be the successor to the National American Woman Suffrage Association after sex discrimination at the polls was banned nationwide. She served as President of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance from 1904 to 1923.

Since ratification of the 19th Amendment she has been actively involved in promoting world peace. 

Among the younger suffragists who will be honored is 46-year-old Judge Florence Allen of the Ohio Supreme Court. She is the first woman to serve there. She worked tirelessly for suffrage in the Buckeye State during many suffrage referenda beginning in 1912.

As a sign of support for nationwide suffrage, she also spent two days hiking along with General Rosalie Jones and her suffragist “Army of the Hudson” on the long trek from Newark, New Jersey, to Washington, D.C., from February 12th – 28th, 1913. 

Four days ago there was a nationwide NBC radio broadcast celebrating the upcoming anniversary of the victory, featuring speeches by Carrie Chapman Catt and Belle Sherwin, president of the League of Women Voters.

It is hoped that there will be more such events as the August 26th anniversary approaches, and that these reminders of how long and difficult the struggle was, as recalled by those who were immersed in it for so many years, will spur even more women to vote and become active in political life.

The Susan B. Anthony (now the 19th) Amendment says: 

“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.

“Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”


David Dismore is the archivist for the Feminist Majority Foundation. His journey from would-be weather forecaster to full-time feminist began with the powerful impression made by a photo and a few paragraphs about the suffragists in his high school history textbook; years later, he had his first encounter with NOW—in which he carefully peeked in a window before opening the door to be sure men were allowed. He was eventually active in the ERA extension campaign of 1978, embarked on a cross-country bikeathon for it in 1982 and even worked for pioneers Toni Carabillo and Judith Meuli.