July 22 , 2020 I www.ggrwhc.org  I 616-574-7307
Closing in on the Centennial!
The Path to the 19th Amendment  

Suffrage history zooms toward us on July 28th! If you saw The Vote recently on PBS, you will have a good sense of the national context for the Michigan suffrage story Ruth Stevens will tell next Tuesday. Small-town America also played on important role. (And you can still see The Vote online!)

Suffrage tent, Michigan State Fair 1912
Getting the Vote: Michigan Women and the Path to Suffrage

Zoom: Saugatuck-Douglas History Center, Tuesday Talks
July 28 at 11:00 a.m.
Free -- for directions,
RSVP via Eventbrite

For the past year, GGRWHC board member Ruth Stevens has hit the road charting the path to suffrage across southwest Michigan. Now she’s gone virtual! At her July 28 th Tuesday Talk sponsored by the Saugatuck-Douglas History Center, she will connect the local with accounts of the broader suffrage movement and offer highlights to illustrate how persistent were activists from both large and small communities, from the 1870s until Michigan women finally won full voting rights in 1918.  Yes, 1918 --almost two years before the 19th Amendment guaranteed suffrage to all citizens nationwide.

Stevens will offer a fascinating look at the early days--how the 1867 granting of school suffrage to Michigan women led to service as early as the 1880s on school boards, the first elective offices held by women. Michigan was often in the national eye, specifically because very few states had granted women school suffrage. National leaders hoped that a win in Michigan for full voting rights would create a ripple effect across the country.  

Join us for this free Zoom program! It will require an RSVP through Eventbrite for a secure link.Please share! See you on Zoom!

GGRWHC Speaker Ruth Stevens
Like many of us, until Ruth Stevens began her research, she thought of women’s suffrage mainly in terms of well-known national leaders. Her study of how small communities across Michigan contributed will both fascinate and inspire.

A retired professor of Legal Studies at GVSU, Stevens has published on the first female Assistant U.S. Attorney in Michigan and currently serves on the board of the Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council. Recently, she has untangled the legal timeline for voting rights in Michigan and begun filling gaps in the story of local suffrage efforts across Michigan.

The National Was in Michigan Early!

In Their Prime: Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony
During the run-up to the first Michigan referendum on women’s suffrage in 1874,
pioneers Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony spoke in towns all across West Michigan--information that GGRWHC has been eager to share regionwide! The votes of men in rural areas were just as crucial as those in the cities. Today historical plaques and other testimonials verify their early visits.

At previous presentations, Stevens’s audience has included the great grandchildren of suffragists with plenty of local stories. So Q&A on Tuesday could be rich in itself!
In 1879, for one example, Anthony spoke at Saugatuck’s Odd Fellows Hall and was hosted by residents of the current Park House Inn.

During the decades after the failure of the 1874 bill, Susan B. Anthony was in Michigan steadily, and her ideas had a lasting an impact on the area. Her personal friendships culminated in the 1899 meeting in Grand Rapids of the entire national movement. [For more on this, see GGRWHC’s new digital exhibit at suffrage-grand-rapids .
During this challenging year, the Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council has pivoted to virtual salutes after losing in-person celebrations of the centennial of the 19th Amendment. We have rededicated ourselves to honoring the long and costly battle for the universal right to vote at the same time we pause to reconsider how we will more fully and effectively embrace all of our community’s women’s histories.
Please continue to celebrate with the Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council virtually and in print! Watch for us via this electronic newsletter, follow us on Facebook, find our monthly features in  Women’s Lifestyle Magazine , and sign up for our hard-copy newsletter, if you haven’t already – at ggrwhc.org ! Stay tuned, stay safe, and stay exercised!
Stay home and stay safe--but celebrate with us virtually and in print! 
GGRWHC |   www.ggrwhc.org   | 616-574-7307
Hats off to the historical women who have shaped West Michigan!
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