August 18, 1920 – the day women across America finally gained full suffrage. One hundred years to the day later, we remember early suffragists who fought for the 19th Amendment.
“From 1910 to about 1920 is when they really put the pressure on the White House and the politics around America to push for women’s voting rights,” said Jeanne Schultz-Angel, Director of Learning Experiences and Historical Resources at Naper Settlement.
1910 Suffrage Auto Tour
They did that with things like the 1910 Suffrage Auto Tour, which made a stop in Naperville and was put on by the Illinois Equal Suffrage Association.
“The idea was that the women would hop out of the car, make speeches in support of women’s suffrage and then go on to the next stop,” said League of Women Voters of Naperville President Becky Simon. “It was a lot of work to get this together. They did it in, I believe, three days. As you can imagine there were not a lot of road signs, there was probably not a lot of pavement.”
Schultz said the car wasn’t just a means of transportation, but also a way to draw people in to listen, as it was rare to see women driving at that time.
The League of Women Voters of Naperville is honoring that auto tour on August 22 by partnering with the Midwest Model T Ford Club. League members will dress up as suffragettes and tour Downtown Naperville.
Illinois Set Apart
Women in Illinois could actually vote for president and local offices as early as 1913. The 1920 date is when full suffrage was achieved nationwide.
But modern-day voting advocates like Simon say the fight continues.
“The Struggle Goes On”
“This is not a historical piece,” she said. “The struggle goes on. We work with the National Council of Jewish women. We work with the NAACP. We are still working to make sure that in all 50 states, all eligible voters have full access to the ballot, that they can vote.”
Carrying on the suffragist tradition, 100 years later.
Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.
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