Celebrating 100 Years of Women's Suffrage

Celebrating 100 Years of Women's Suffrage
United Methodist Women members participate in the International Women's Day Vigil, New York, 2013.

August 18 marks the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote. In August 1920 Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment, and on August 26, the 19th Amendment was certified to become part of the U.S. Constitution. 

United Methodist Women honors and celebrates the women's suffrage movement and all those who fought for a woman’s right to vote. Yet we also acknowledge that women of color did not benefit from this right for years to come.

Voting Rights Act

It wasn’t until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed under President Lyndon B. Johnson that real efforts were made to overcome the barriers that prevented African-Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic and other citizens of color from exercising their right to vote. 

While in 1870 the 15th Amendment did grant African-American men – and only men – the right to vote, Southern states soon adopted a number of laws that made it  difficult for African-Americans to vote. It wasn’t until the Voting Rights Act passed almost 100 years later that voting was to be accessible for all. 

Yet voter registration and voter ID laws, which especially affect people of color, continue to disenfranchise parts of the population. Other barriers to voting include poling places that are hard to access or are few and far between in areas with minority populations. 

General Conference Legislation

The history of voting rights in the United States, as our General Conference legislation says, has been fraught with practices of violence, intimidation and disenfranchisement of people of color. The board of directors has called United Methodist Women members to take action against racism.

United Methodist Women has worked tirelessly to secure the right to vote for women and minorities. Our foremothers Anna Howard Shaw and Frances Willard were just some of the United Methodist Women leaders who fought for equal voting rights for all.

Let us continue the work of our foremothers and keep advocating for fair and equal voting rights for all. And let us not take for granted the women’s vote that was bravely fought for by suffragettes of the past. 

To help you navigate your faith and values as you prepare to vote, United Methodist Women has endorsed Democracy, Values and the 2020 Election: A Reflection Guide by Faith in Public Life and Interfaith Power and Light. Get your copy here

Posted or updated: 8/17/2020 12:00:00 AM