Oregon Women Vote! Commemorating Woman Suffrage in Oregon and the U.S.

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The year 2012 marked the centennial of woman suffrage in Oregon, and this year and month, August 2020, marks the centennial of national woman suffrage.

Pioneers who worked tirelessly for the passage of suffrage in Oregon include Abigail Scott Duniway, Esther Pohl Lovejoy, and Hattie Redmond, among many others. As other states continued to pass suffrage, particularly in the West, and women such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton continued to work for national woman suffrage, a federal amendment to the U.S. Constitution was not passed until August 1920. Women throughout the country finally obtained the right to vote with these simple words of the Nineteenth Amendment: "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."

This exhibit celebrates the centennial of the passage of that federal amendment while also highlighting the history of woman suffrage in Oregon. It examines the contributions of Abigail Scott Duniway and her contemporaries, including many women of color in the suffrage movement. The exhibit also examines elements of racism in the suffrage movement, and reminds us of the need for unrelenting efforts to attain civil rights and social justice for all, as exemplified by the current Black Lives Matter Movement. Lastly, the exhibit looks at the Oregon Women’s Political Caucus and Gretchen Kafoury, a leader in Oregon politics.