EATON — Preble County Republican Women and other prominent local residents posed for pictures in front of the Preble County Courthouse on Thursday, Aug. 13 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which granted women in the United States the right to vote.
Initially introduced in 1878, the 19th amendment passed the House of Representatives in May 1919, the Senate the following June, and was ratified by the last of 36 states needed to secure adoption on Aug. 18, 1920. Ohio was the fifth state to ratify, voting to approve the amendment on June 16, 1919.
Thursday’s event was organized by Preble County Auditor Lavon Wright and Seventh Vice President of the Ohio Federation of Republican Women Brenda Ross.
“This being an election year, it’s very important for people to get out and vote. Especially women, now that we have the right to do so,” Ross said. “Our grandmothers worked very hard for that.”
Though efforts to get the word out have been hampered by COVID-19 restrictions regarding parades and other large gatherings, Ross said that reminding people to take advantage of their right to vote remains crucial.
“It’s very important for everybody to voice their opinion,” Ross said.
“It’s crazy that it’s only been that long,” Wright said of this week’s 100th anniversary. “But we’re happy that we’re able to vote now, and to have a voice. I’m appreciative that things have moved forward.”
The United States was the last of about 40 nations which granted women the right to vote between 1838 and 1920, several of which later revoked the privilege. Legal challenges to women’s suffrage in the United States included lawsuits filed on behalf of states which had not voted to adopt the 19th amendment, claiming the measure was a violation of state sovereignty. Mississippi became the last U.S. state to ratify the 19th amendment on March 22, 1984.
Wright stressed the importance of women exercising their right to vote.
“A lot of women are doing a lot of very public work now,” Wright said. “Our grandmothers worked very hard, and probably took a lot of flack from their husbands! We feel like it’s our civic duty to vote.”
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook or Instagram @mproperenglish