Next week Michigan Municipal League is going gold to celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote.
When the U.S. Congress finally passed the 19th Amendment at the beginning of June 1919, Michigan became one of the first three states to ratify it. Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan all ratified the amendment on June 10, 1919, meaning this Monday, June 10, 2019, marks the 100th anniversary of this historic vote.
To celebrate nationwide, the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission (WSCC) has developed a Centennial Planning Toolkit to help states and communities plan commemorative activities. The goal is to ensure Michigan supporters and communities across the state have the chance to celebrate this historic moment. The League encourages our communities to take part in the celebration throughout the next year.
One thing that the WSCC is encouraging communities to do Monday, June 10, 2019 is for buildings throughout Michigan to be lit up in gold – one of the colors of the suffrage movement that symbolized victory. The League and WSCC encourages municipalities to light up in gold city halls, town halls, courthouses, historic sites, community centers, etc., along with any other centennial events that they plan.
About the 19th Amendment and 100th anniversary celebration: From 2019-2020, the United States will celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the 19th Amendment and women’s constitutional right to vote. Suffragists began their organized fight for women’s suffrage (meaning the “right to vote”) in 1848 when they demanded the franchise during the first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York. For the next 72 years, women leaders lobbied, marched, picketed, and protested for the right to the ballot. The U.S. House of Representatives finally approved the “Susan B. Anthony Amendment,” which guaranteed women the right to vote, on May 21, 1919; the U.S. Senate followed two weeks later, and then the 19th Amendment went to the states for ratification. Thirty-six states needed to approve the Amendment for it to become part of the Constitution. Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois became the first three states to ratify it on June 10, 1919. On August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th and final state needed to ratify. U.S. Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby issued a proclamation declaring the 19th Amendment ratified and part of the U.S. Constitution on August 26, 1920, forever protecting American women’s right to vote. Today, more than 68 million women vote in elections because of the courageous suffragists who never gave up the fight for equality.