To the Editor:
In a column dated Aug. 13, Gail Collins of The New York Times reminds us that August marks the 90th anniversary of women being granted the right to vote. She also reminds us that before that August 90 years ago, there was a 70-year “slog” of “Adventure! Suspense! Treachery! and Drunken Legislators!” not to mention a U.S. Senate that resisted year after year.
Thus, each state had to ratify the right to vote, triggering a massive effort in each state by women of all persuasions. It came down to Tennessee and one vote. It looked as if women would lose once again when Rep. Harry Burn received a telegram from his mother in which she told him to be a “good boy” and “do the right thing.” He did the right thing and the governor signed the bill on Aug. 24, 1920. Two days later, the 19th Amendment became national law, 144 years after the Declaration of Independence.
Through 70 years of seeking the right to vote, women were arrested, beaten, deprived of food and water, and suffered indignities that only women in other countries can identify with now. We simply must vote in November to honor all of those women and the men who supported them.
The yellow rose came to symbolize the suffragette movement. If you have not registered to vote, why not pin on a yellow rose and march yourself to the elections office and get yourself registered. And when November comes, be sure you have educated yourself about the candidates. Who honors the tenets of our constitution and the principles of equality? Who will best represent us and not big business? Who will honor all of those women who struggled for 70 years to make sure we could vote?
“The young women of today — free to study, to speak, to write, to choose their occupation — should remember that every inch of this freedom was bought for them at a great price ... the debt that each generation owes to the past, it must pay to the future.” ~ Abigail Scott Dunaway