They Persisted!
Honoring the Work of American Suffragists
on Equality Day, August 26
Borrowing the contemporary phrase to describe the work of United States suffragists, they "persisted" for over 70 years and four generations organizing referenda, circulating countless petitions, and giving speeches, even though they were frequently harassed and ridiculed just because they wanted to vote. Finally on August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment guaranteeing universal suffrage became the law of the land.
In order to honor the women and men who kept up the non-violent fight for a woman's right to vote, Congress passed a resolution declaring August 26 as Equality Day. Proposed by Rep. Bella Abzug in 1971, it was passed in 1973 and since then presidents have issued a proclamation annually in commemoration of that day in 1920.
Photo: Suffragists in front of White House in 1917, calling out President Woodrow Wilson
Betty Ford and the Equal Rights Amendment
In the year of Betty Ford's centennial we celebrate her work for women's rights while she was First Lady. In 1972, Betty Ford began traveling from state to state promoting the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. In a 1970s speech on the ERA, Ford explained her position:

"The Equal Rights Amendment, when ratified, will not be an instant solution to women's problems. It will not alter the fabric of the constitution or force women away from their families. It will help knock down those restrictions that have locked women in to the old stereotypes of behavior and opportunity. It will help open up more options for women. But it is only a beginning. The debate over ERA has become too emotional because of the fears of some -- both men and women -- about the changes already taking place in America."

and move forward to the 50 minute/48 second mark of a 2013 interview
with Richard Norton Smith, presidential historian.
Thank you
to many friends of women's history who have contributed in 2018
to the GGRWHC so we can continue to "uncover, preserve, and celebrate the rich history of women in our community."
If you have not yet renewed your support of GGRWHC for 2018 or joined as a brand-new supporter, click below!
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Hats off to the historical women who've shaped West Michigan!
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Thank you for your interest in preserving and celebrating the history of the many phenomenal women who've helped to shape West Michigan!  If you aren't already a supporter of the Greater Grand Rapids Women's History Council, consider investing in our work as a volunteer or with an annual donation .  Visit our  website  for more information and the ability to donate online.