Friday, 17 March 2017 11:09

OP ED: 2017 Marks 100th Anniversary of Right to Vote in New York

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March is Women’s History Month and this year marks the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote in New York. Many of the early crusaders who fought for the right to vote for U.S. women lived in Upstate New York. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda Josyln Gage are credited with shaping the national conversation in the mid and late 1800s, which led to Women’s Suffrage in 1920.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton helped organize the Women’s Rights Convention in 1848 in Seneca Falls and declared that women should have the right to vote in the small Upstate village. She is often credited as beginning the organized women’s rights and suffrage movements in the U.S. and traveled across the U.S. to give speeches. In one of her most frequent speeches, “Our Girls” she urged girls to get an education and earn an income if they needed to.

Susan B. Anthony voted, but was arrested for doing so in Rochester. She argued that the Constitution gave her that right, however, she was denied a trial by jury and lost her case. Her paper, “The Revolution” argued for equal pay for equal work and she promoted a policy of purchasing American-made goods. Her history is preserved at the Susan B. Anthony Museum and House in Rochester. Matilda Joslyn Gage was born in Cicero, New York. In 1871, Gage was one of many women who tried to vote but was denied the right in Fayetteville.

Though each pursued separate endeavors and had different experiences during the late 1800s, they banded together to author “A History of Women’s Suffrage” and were founding members of the National Woman Suffrage Association from 1869 to 1889 which focused on changing the U.S. Constitution. Though the women did not see the 19th amendment ratified, their efforts helped make it possible. Their history and influence is documented at the Women’s Rights National Historic Park and the National Women’s Hall of Fame, both located in Seneca Falls. Stanton, Gage, and Anthony are among the more than 250 women who have been inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Beginning this year and through 2020, New York will commemorate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage with events and promotion of local history that aim to educate the public about this historic movement. As part of this commemoration, the state has launched a new listing of historic sites linked to women’s suffrage movement. To view these museums and homes where the history took place, visit https://paththroughhistory.iloveny.com/themes/womens-rights. Additionally, the New York State Education Department and the Office of Cultural Education will present an exhibi­t and companion catalog titled, “Votes for Women: Celebrating New York’s Suffrage Centennial.” The exhibit can be seen at the New York State Museum between Nov. 4, 2017 and May 13, 2018 at 222 Madison Avenue in Albany. A smaller, traveling exhibit will be on display at various locations throughout the state including the State Fair. The exhibition will also highlight the nationally significant role of New York State leaders in regards to women’s rights through the early 21st century. To learn more, visit http://www.nysm.nysed.gov/exhibitions/votes-for-women.

The Women’s National Hall of Fame is open Wednesdays through Saturdays between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and is located at 76 Fall Street in Seneca Falls. For information, call 315-568-8060 or visit www.womenofthehall.org. Their site contains a wealth of information for anyone wishing to learn more about the women of America who have pioneered in their fields. To learn more Matilda Josyln Gage visit http://www.matildajoslyngage.org/. To learn more about the Women’s National Historic Park, visit http://www.nps.gov/wori/index.htm. If you have any questions or comments regarding these or other state issues, please contact me. My office can be reached by mail at 200 North Second Street, Fulton, New York 13069, by email at [email protected], or by calling (315) 598-5185. You also can friend me, Assemblyman Barclay, on Facebook.

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