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tv   American Artifacts Rightfully Hers American Women the Vote Exhibit  CSPAN  August 10, 2019 10:00am-10:49am EDT

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have a chance to sit back and think about how fast it went down. [applause] learn more about secret service agents and their challenges sunday at 8:00 p.m. and midnight eastern on the presidency. you are watching american history tv. >> hi, i'm corinne porter. i'm a curator here at the national archives museum. i'm going to show you around the "rightfully hers" exhibition today, which is in the lawrence f. o'brien gallery. before we head into the gallery i wanted to talk about this lenticular that's out in the lobby in front of the entrance. it has a photograph of the 1913 women's suffrage march, looking up pennsylvania avenue towards the united states capitol, and
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it is overlaid with a photograph from the 2017 women's march from pennsylvania avenue as well. and it is a lenticular, which has a special effect so that as you walk by the image changes between the two. and we really wanted to have it in the exhibit to help grab the public's attention, and also to signal that this is a historic exhibit, but one that continues to have contemporary relevance today. so let's head now into the lawrence f. o'brien gallery, where "rightfully hers" is on display. so this is a national archives exhibition to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, but it is more than a 19th amendment exhibition. that's because the 19th amendment, landmark voting rights victory that it was for women, did not give all women the right to vote.
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millions of women were already voters by the time the 19th amendment was added to the constitution, but millions of women for reasons other than their sex remained unable to vote. and so this exhibit looks at that story as well. we have this introductory video here that is also meant to grab people's attention and pull them into the gallery. it also gives you a sense of what types of stories you're going to encounter here in the "rightfully hers" exhibition. the exhibit is organized into five sections that ask five questions, which you can see here with the women who are carrying their protest banners. those questions are -- who decides who votes? why did women fight for the vote? how did women win the 19th amendment? what was the 19th amendment's impact? and what voting right struggles persist? so the first section of the exhibit is "who decides who votes?" and this is a small but important framing section of the exhibit. even to this day, there's not a
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citizen's right to vote in this country, and when the constitution was first ratified, it made no mention of voting qualifications, so that's really a power that was left to the states. so one of my favorite stories that really highlights the power that states have in deciding who votes is women in new jersey, who were america's first voters, beginning in 1776 when new jersey became a state. the new jersey state constitution made no mention of sex when discussing voting qualifications. it only had a property requirement. so women who own enough property -- primarily widows and single women, so not all women in new jersey -- could and did vote in elections at the local, state, and national level. and they did so for the first 30 years of the republic, until new jersey changed its law, using
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its power as a state to do so, to restrict the vote to just white men of property. at that point in time, women as well as african-american men lost the right to vote. for women, it wasn't -- in new jersey, it wasn't until the 19th amendment's ratification that they got the right to vote back. so let's head to the next section of the exhibit, which is, "why did women fight for the vote?" i love this section of the exhibit because our records do such a wonderful job of telling the personal story from the women, not just about why they were fighting for the vote but what the absence of the vote meant for them in terms of economics, social, legal, and other consequences. women like emily barber. she sent this petition to congress. she was a teacher. she argues that, as a wage earning woman, she has to pay equal taxes with men, but as a non-voter of course has no -- has no voice, excuse me, in how she -- how those tax dollars are
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spent. she further states "that, with acknowledged superior capabilities for teaching and governing schools, she has been obliged to teach for one third of the wages accorded to a male teacher in the same school." i just love to point out that this petition was sent to congress in 1879. so 140 years ago this year, women were already arguing that they needed the vote to press for equal wages. of course, as a wage earning woman, women like emily barber, from their working experience, it was really clear how vulnerable women were without the vote. one of the other ways that a lot of women came to ultimately fight for their right to vote was through engagement on other reform issues. lots of women were engaged in the antislavery movement, in the
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temperance movement to limit the sale as well as the consumption of alcohol, as well as other educational, public health, and social reforms. one of the most important endorsements that the suffrage movement got came from the women's christian temperance union in 1881. they were the largest women's organization at the time. we have this petition here from the women christian temperance union that argues that the ballot is the "most potent element in all moral and social reforms." so through women's reform activities, they realized even if they didn't initially support women's suffrage, they realized that needed the ballot in order to really press for the changes that were most important to them. i love this section of the exhibit. it has wonderful records that tell the personal stories from individual women who fought for the vote.
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we really wanted to include as many voices and arguments as we could from women and men who fought for women's voting rights, so we also developed this projection display that includes beautiful portraits, as well as quotes from other women and men who were active in the suffrage movement, arguing why women needed the vote. >> "working women must use the ballot in order to abolish the burning and crushing of our bodies for the profit of a very few." garment worker, 1911. >> "the rights and interests of the female part of the community are sometimes forgotten or disregarded in consequence of their deprivation of political rights." dr. harriot kezia hunt, 1852. >> so let's move on to the third section of the exhibit, which is really the focal point of the exhibit.
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it's the largest section of the exhibit. how did women win the 19th amendment? in this part of the exhibit, we look at the diversity of women as well as strategies that were engaged in the fight to ultimately win the 19th amendment. this is a more than seven decade multi generational struggle so there are a lot of stories that we tell in this section of the exhibit, but we really begin at one of the first critical juncture points in the struggle for women's voting rights. that came at the end of the civil war, when suffragists, women suffragists, many of whom were also engaged in the antislavery movement, hoped that as the government considered the rights of freed men that women may also gain the right to vote at the same time. so here we have a petition for universal suffrage, so that is
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for everyone to get the right to vote. from 1866, it's signed by a number of women whose names are pretty familiar with the women's suffrage movement, including susan b. anthony, elizabeth cady stanton, and lucy stone, and they're really urging the government to consider extending the right of suffrage to women as it considers doing so for newly emancipated african-american men. unfortunately for them, the government did not listen to their pleas, and, once the 15th amendment passed congress, it was clear that women, both african-american and white women, were not going to get the right to vote. this really created a huge amount of tension among -- among women suffragists. they were divided over whether or not to support the 15th amendment, and it actually created something that is called
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the schism in the suffrage movement. two new national organizations were formed. the first one was the national women's suffrage association. that was founded by anthony and stanton. they did not support the 15th amendment and focused their work from that point onward to fighting for a constitutional amendment that would give women the right to vote. here we have a petition from the american woman suffrage association, which was founded by lucy stone, her husband, and other suffragists. they did support the 15th amendment. however, they focused their efforts on winning women the right to vote at the state and local level. they weren't necessarily opposed to a constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote. however, they didn't really feel that it was -- they weren't very optimistic at the success of a constitutional amendment at this point in time.
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so one of the really fascinating things about the women's suffrage movement is that after women lost the vote in new jersey in 1807, the first states to give women the right to vote beginning in 1869 were in the west. wyoming territory was the first state -- territory at that point in time -- to give women the vote and then they became the first state to do so when they obtained statehood in 1890. and, interestingly, no states east of the mississippi gave women the right to vote in the 19th century. here we have a petition from utah. utah's a really interesting case because utah had a mormon majority legislature. congress was really opposed to the practice of polygamy, made number of efforts in the latter part of the 19th century to try and outlaw the practice of plural marriage. this petition is from women who
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had already gotten the right to vote from utah, when congress was trying to pass legislation to outlaw polygamy, and they make lovely arguments about the fact that women managed to maintain their respectability as voters and really urged congress not to take the vote away from them when they passed that legislation. congress was not successful in doing so at this point in time, but just about a decade later women in utah did lose the vote when congress passed anti-polygamy legislation. but once utah got its statehood, they gave the vote back to women. one more really interesting thing about this story is that this is the only time that congress actually took the vote away from women as well. so the women's suffrage movement took more than 70 years. generations of women had to
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fight for their right to vote, and one of the reasons it took so long for the suffrage movement to be successful was because there was fierce opposition to enfranchising women, not just from male politicians, but from a lot of women as well. this was a period of time of great social change. women's tradition roles, in particualr outside of the home, were shifting dramatically, and lots of women really resisted that change. we have this fantastic petition from more than 850 women, who urged congress not to give them the vote, and they make a number of different arguments for why they don't want the vote, and i'm just going to read one of them to you. so they argue that "because these changes must introduce a fruitful element of discord in the existing marriage relation, which would tend to the infinite detriment of children and increase the already alarming
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prevalence of divorce" in this country. this petition comes from 1872, so pretty remarkable that that argument was being made already back then. and we've got this great graphic here that shows the mother heading out the door on election day while her husband is left at home with the children and doing all the cooking and cleaning, and really speaks to the fears that a -- that a lot of anti-suffragists had at that point in time. so certainly lots of women and men were opposed to giving women the right to vote because of how it might change, in particular, the family dynamic, but that was not the only reason that anti-suffragists were opposed to giving women the right to vote. so we have this section of --
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this exhibit case in the exhibit that looks at the way that race came into the discussion and the debate over giving women the right to vote. race-based arguments were used on both sides of the suffrage movement, not only for or against giving women the right to vote, but for or against doing so through a constitutional amendment. we have this really fascinating postcard from the georgia association opposed to women's suffrage. and i'll just read a couple of the arguments that the -- that the postcard makes to vote against women's suffrage. "because universal suffrage wipes out the disfranchisement of the negro by state law" and "because white supremacy must be maintained." so it makes pretty clear that southern states in particular -- especially because they had been
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able after the 15th amendment's ratification, after the end of reconstruction, had been able to implement discriminatory measures that pretty effectively disenfranchised a lot of african-american men -- they feared that giving the women the right to vote, in particular african-american women, would undermine that effort. so race was a critical issue in the suffrage movement. but it's also really important, and was a goal of this exhibit, that we highlight the critical role that african-american suffragists played in the fight for women's voting rights, in particular the ultimate success of the 19th amendment. and we have this petition here from washington, d.c., signed by both african-american men and women, urging congress to pass a constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote. something i find fascinating
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really about this petition is that these are petitioners from the district of columbia and at this period in time, 1877, when the -- when this petition was signed, voters -- there were no voting rights in the district of columbia. something else that's really interesting about this petition is that it is signed by two of frederick douglass's children, including frederick douglass jr., at the top of the men's column, and rosetta douglass-sprague, who signs as mrs. nathan sprague, second from the top on the women's column. all of the documents that we've looked at so far in this exhibition are in the holdings of the national archives, and the national archives preserves them for future generations. and i think it's really spectacular that a petition that you send to congress today, just as these african-american petitioners did in 1877, becomes part of the national archives holdings, and we're really
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fortunate that we have it here today to help tell the story. so thus far on this tour, we've seen lots of petitions. and women, when they were pressing for their voting rights, really only had their first amendment rights available to them to press their government for their rights and for political change. one of the other rights, first amendment rights, that suffragists use, the freedom to assemble, they pretty used effectively as well to gain greater visibility and public attention in particular for their cause. we have this great wall mural here of one of many suffrage parades that were staged throughout the country. this one is here in washington, d.c. from 1913. it was one of the most consequential marches that was staged. women -- more than 5000 suffragists participated in this
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march. it was held the day before woodrow wilson's first presidential inauguration. and i hope that you can see here. this is all the space that these women had to march up pennsylvania avenue. this photograph is actually digitized from a congressional hearing that was held after the march was over because the police really didn't do very much to control the crowd. the suffragists could barely make their way through the crowds at points, and they faced verbal harassment and even some instances of assault as well as they marched through this unfriendly crowd. and the police argued that there were just too many people, so they couldn't possibly keep the crowds back, but of course, as you can see here, that there's plenty of room. they could have opened the way for these women to march peacefully for their rights. one of the women that we know
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who participated in that march is marie bottineau baldwin. she's a native american woman, and we felt it was really important in particular because many of the photographs that you see from the women's suffrage movement are primarily of white women marching and protesting for their vote. but we know that women of color were there and were important to the movement, and we really wanted to make sure to spotlight their stories whenever we could. and so we know marie baldwin was a participant of the suffrage march here in washington, d.c. this is actually her official personnel file photo. she worked for the -- what's today the bureau of indian affairs, and i just think it's a lovely photo and i love that she chose to wear her traditional native dress for the picture as well. and i also want to just point
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out that ida b. wells-barnett was another woman of color who participated in the 1913 suffragist march and also was a really critical activist, not only for women's suffrage but for a number of different issues. throughout the gallery, we have these women's photographs in these gold frames. i call them suffragist spotlights. we really just wanted to make sure that we pulled in as many different women's stories and highlighting the important role that they played in the struggle for women's voting rights. so you'll see those throughout the gallery. so women petitioned, they marched, and they protested. but the fight for women's voting rights really wouldn't have been successful if, as i said at the start of this tour, millions of women were not already voters. that's because their states chose to give them the right to vote, beginning with wyoming territory in 1869. some states chose to give women
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equal voting rights with men in their state, and other states just chose to extend partial or limited suffrage to women. we have some great records that help tell the story of partial suffrage in particular. one of my -- one of my favorite records in the entire exhibit is this voting machine patent drawing that is from 1910. it actually has two separate entrances to get into the -- into the voting area. on the left there's an entrance. at the top, it says "ladies," on the right there's an entrance for "gents." and then you can also see there's this very complicated system of pulleys and levers. i don't know exactly how all those gears are intended to work, but the intention would be that women, who couldn't vote for everything that men could vote for on election day would go into the left side entrance, and all those gears, pulleys,
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and levers would close off whatever ballot measures they were not allowed to vote for. of course, if you are a man, you could go in through the "gents" entrance on the right and all options would be opened up and available to you. this patent drawing is from 1910, so this was 10 years before the 19th amendment was ratified. already states were -- and the american public was dealing with the question of some women having certain voting rights, but not equal voting rights with men. another critical community of women that were engaged in the struggle for women's voting rights were working class women. we already heard the arguments from emily barber, that teacher who, as a wage earning woman, pressed for voting rights. and women, whether they worked in a profession or whether they worked in a factory or other industry, were a really critical
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community in the struggle for women's voting rights, in particular because working women's engagement really helped to turn the women's suffrage movement into a mass movement. both in terms of the number of women who began to be active in the struggle for the vote as well as some of the new strategies that those women brought to the women's suffrage movement, in particular from their experience working in organizing labor. we have this great petition here that still has its instruction sheet attached, which i love because it shows the way that they translated some of those strategies they learned for getting petitions signed for unionizing into how they translated that for the struggle to get signatures from men and women to support women's suffrage. so they have things such as "canvass factories, workshops, and schools at the noon hour" so that you can get people to sign petitions while they're on their lunch break, which i think is just fascinating. so the women's suffrage movement
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has turned into this mass movement. we have millions of wage-earning women engaged for the fight for the vote. we have women marching through the streets, signing greater numbers of petitions. then we come to the point where the united states enters the war during world war i. this creates another tension point in the women's suffrage movement. women gained tremendous momentum behind their movement, but most suffragists feared that to continue to agitate for the vote while the u.s. went to war, that they would lose support for their cause because they would look unpatriotic. a number of women, most women and the largest woman's suffrage organization, the national american woman suffrage association at the time, chose
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to put their public agitation for the vote to the side and instead devote their time to supporting the war efforts. we have this great collection of uniforms from women who volunteered with the red cross and served both domestically as well as abroad. it's a lovely collection, and i love that i was able to use it to really talk about and interpret women's wartime service, which was really important to gaining a lot of public support for giving women the right to vote. however, not all women chose to set aside their women's suffrage activities. in fact, the national women's party, the really militant branch of the women's suffrage movement, chose to really step up the political pressure, in particular towards the president at this time. they began to picket the white
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house in early 1917. women were actually the first americans to picket the white house. we have this banner that we've borrowed from the national women's party, as well as this great footage showing women marching as well as the silent sentinels standing outside of the white house to really call attention to women's suffrage, to embarrass the president and call out the hypocrisy of the united states going to war during world war i, the war to make the world safe for democracy, while women at home still didn't have their full citizenship rights. silent sentinels were picketing outside of the white house during the war, and the wilson administration did not necessarily respond kindly to their activities. as the u.s. mobilized for war and really began to ramp up its engagement in that conflict,
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silent sentinels were harassed on the street. some of those women were arrested and also jailed. we have some documents here that talk about that story, in particular women's imprisonment for really peacefully protesting for their rights. although the silent sentinels were not necessarily very popular with mainstream suffragists or with many members of the american public, they were nevertheless appalled that these women were imprisoned for peacefully demonstrating for their rights. the criticism that the wilson administration received for the treatment of the silent sentinels, as well as the political pressure that they maintained on him, women's patriotism and service during the war, really finally was
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enough to turn the tide in favor publicly and politically for women's voting rights. and women gained a really important and critical endorsement from the president in 1918, just before the war ended, when he went to congress and urged that they pass the women's suffrage amendment as a war measure. unfortunately, it wasn't enough. the senate voted just a couple days later and the measure still failed to pass by the required two thirds majority of that chamber to become a constitutional amendment by just two votes. the good news is, the next session of congress, the measure passed the house on may 21, 1919, and then passed the senate on june 4, 1919, and finally the 19th amendment, an amendment to give women the right to vote,
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passed congress and went out to the states for ratification. in order for that amendment to become part of the constitution, it needs to be ratified by the states. here we have, in the center of our exhibition, the real focal point of this story, the story of the 19th amendment's journey from a proposed constitutional amendment to becoming part of the constitution. these three documents here really help tell that story. the first record is the joint resolution, proposing amendment to the constitution extending the right of suffrage to women. when we say the 19th amendment, this is the document we are talking about. it's the joint resolution that passed congress on june 4, 1919. it doesn't become a constitutional amendment, however, until it's been ratified by three quarters of the states, which was 36 states at that period in time, a requirement that the 19th amendment met when tennessee became the 36th state to ratify
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the proposed amendment on august 18, 1920. here we have a ceremonial copy of the secretary of state's certification that the 19th amendment had indeed met the constitutional requirements for it to become a constitutional amendment. with that, women have secured the right to vote in the united states constitution. here we have the story of the 19th amendment's journey to becoming part of the constitution, but i also wanted to tell a just few more stories from its road to ratification, including some of the first states that ratified, as well as a little bit more of the story behind tennessee because that was a pretty intense battle, to finally pass the amendment in that state. in tennessee, as the tennessee legislature was fighting over whether or not to ratify the 19th amendment, it ultimately
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only passed by a single vote. we wanted to tell that story here. the freshman legislator who voted to pass the -- voted to ratify the 19th amendment was harry burn, and the story goes that he was opposed to women's suffrage, but his mother urged him to support the amendment if his vote was needed to do so. fortunately for us, he kept his promise to his mother. i will just point out that, as you round that corner from the 19th amendment, we have this huge wall mural. this is a photograph from the national women's party. we have alice paul up almost in the rafters of the building, but we really wanted to represent that this is a moment of celebration as she is unfurling the national women's party flag with 36 stars, representing the 36 states that have voted to
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ratify, just so it's clear to everyone who comes here that we've reached a really critical milestone in women's fight for the vote. the next section of the exhibit is, what was the 19th amendment's impact? we wanted to, in the gallery, look at some of the immediate impacts that the 19th amendment had for women as they began to use their newfound power as voters. looking at some of the early pieces of legislation that women fought for and some of the successes as well as some of the setbacks that they -- that they encountered. this section of the exhibit also really becomes a foundational section of the exhibit that looks at the ongoing struggle for greater women's equality and opportunity that really has continued in the 100 years since the 19th amendment's ratification. one of the stories that most people think about is the equal rights amendment, and some
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suffragists did immediately, or very quickly, begin to pivot to work to secure women's legal equality in the constitution. however, interestingly, at that point in time most women did not support an equal rights amendment. as i mentioned earlier in the exhibit, women were engaged in various reform movements, and they hadn't been completely unsuccessful at winning important protections for women, and many resisted, including 13 rather large women's -- national women's organizations -- resisted an equal rights amendment because they feared that, would one become part of the constitution, that women would lose those important protections. we also wanted to look at the ways that women fought for greater political
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representation. of course, that is a struggle that continues today as well since there are still not equal numbers of women in congress and other -- as well as state and local governments. we wanted to have just a little bit of fun, and i pulled together this playful section of artifacts and ephemera that represent the different ways that women as voters have shown their support for their political candidate. in the physical gallery, we really only look at a couple of stories focused on the decade immediately following the 19th amendment's ratification, but of course there are many more stories in the 100 years since the 19th amendment's ratification focused on women's ongoing struggle for greater equality, opportunity, and political representation. so we wanted to make some of
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that important context and history available in the exhibit, but we couldn't fit it into the actual gallery, so we developed this interactive maze to allow visitors to explore some of those ongoing struggles that women continue to fight. of course, we also have the records of rights exhibition here at the national archives that also looks at women's rights more broadly, which is just one floor down in the museum. if you choose to play the interactive maze game, you get to select an avatar. then you're taken through the maze where you encounter some of the ways that women have pressed for, succeeded, and sometimes were not successful in winning greater voting rights. the maze itself is meant as a metaphor for that ongoing struggle, because of course you
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have to try to find your way through the maze just as women would have had to struggle to find their way forward in the ongoing struggle for equality. now we come to the last section of the exhibit, which is, what voting rights struggles persist? as i said at the start of this tour, millions of women did not get the right to vote under the 19th amendment. millions of women were already voters, but millions of women and men continued to struggle for their voting rights after the 19th amendment's ratification, because they were denied the vote for reasons other than their sex. this section of the exhibit tries to look at some of those different stories from different groups of women, the ongoing struggle they faced, and what ultimately secured voting rights for different groups of women. one of the most notable stories in this section of the exhibit is the struggle for african-american women and men, in particular in the south, to
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gain their right to vote. i have a couple of documents here. one of my favorite letters in the whole section of the exhibit is from lula murry. she wrote to the president in 1923. she's from birmingham, alabama. she writes to say that she was turned away when she went to register to vote, but that she should have the right to vote under the 14th, 15th, and the 19th amendments. it's the only letter in all the research i did for this exhibit where i found an african-american woman who mentioned all the constitutional amendments that extend her voting rights. she also goes on further to say that she had two brothers who served during world war i, one of whom lost his life in service to his country -- and she is urging the president to get this
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important act of justice. i love this pamphlet next to her letter, because it so clearly outlines a number of the different voting restrictions that were used in the south to keep african-americans from exercising their right to vote. i will just read off what they have listed here. it says, "white primaries, the poll tax, inaccessibility of the polls, restrictive registration hours, and other more subtle restrictions against voting." i think what they mean there is issues related to intimidation as well as discrimination and voting, things like unfairly administered literacy tests, breadth of economic retaliation, and sometimes threats and acts of violence against african-american voters that
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attempted to exercise their right to vote. it isn't until the voting rights act of 1965 passes congress that many of these discriminatory measures are outlawed. women and men in the south are really able to exercise their constitutional right to vote. they are not the only group of americans who continued to struggle and encounter issues of discrimination after the 19th amendment's ratification. but one of the other areas where women, and of course men, run into issues with exercising their rights to vote -- it says nothing about the district of columbia or other u.s. territories like puerto rico. puerto rican women, although they were engaged in the suffrage movement since the early 20th century, were not
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included by the 19th amendment, and their territorial legislature refused to extend them the right to vote when the 19th amendment was ratified. they faced another 15-year struggle to secure voting rights for puerto rican women. i should mention puerto rican women were already united states citizens at this point in time. they gained citizenship in 1917. we have this letter, writing to president coolidge in 1929, urging his support for a measure that was before congress to give women the right to vote. in particular she is asking that he will sign the bill if it passes. they achieve a partial victory. not all women get the right to
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vote in puerto rico in 1929. literate women are able to secure their rights to vote. it's not until 1939 that all puerto rican women gained the right to vote in puerto rico. for both puerto rico as well as the district of columbia, even today they don't have equal voting rights and voting representation in congress with american citizens who live in the states. at the beginning of this tour i said there is not a citizen's right to vote in this country today, but that doesn't mean that citizenship isn't often a prerequisite in order to exercise the right to vote. women who are not recognized as u.s. citizens when the 19th amendment was ratified had to wait until they were recognized as citizens in order to exercise their right to vote. two groups of women whose story we tell here are native american women, as well as asian immigrant women. all native americans are not
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recognized as united states citizens until 1924. that doesn't mean they necessarily gained the right to vote once they gained citizenship. many discriminatory measures that african-american voters encountered also kept a lot of native american voters from the polls as well. for asian immigrant women, they were not legally allowed to obtain citizenship until the 1940's and 1950's. we have this photograph from world war ii, and it's an interesting story. japanese internees, if they were u.s. citizens, could vote if they were incarcerated in internment camps, and even some japanese immigrants were allowed
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to vote just for camp assembly-type elections, which is an interesting little side story. in addition to the ways that different groups of americans have continued to struggle since the 19th amendment's ratification in order to secure the right to vote, we also wanted to look at some other pieces of legislation and other constitutional amendments that opened the polls to even more voters. like the 26th amendment, which lowered the voting age from 21 to 18, and the national voter registration act, which is better known as motor voter today, which made it easier for all americans, but especially younger and poor voters, in particular, to register to vote and hopefully use their right to vote. here we have a t-shirt that was gifted to president clinton when he signed motor voter into law. for some of our younger
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visitors, i think they may enjoy seeing the "rock the vote" logo. as a member of the mtv generation, i remember watching rock the vote specials, where all the celebrities come out and encourage younger voters to engage and rock the vote. as i said in the first section of the "rightfully hers" exhibit, who decides who votes? the states' power to determining qualifications played a critical role in women's struggle for the vote. it became important in determining voting rights today. we end the exhibit here with the supreme court decision in shelby county, which upheld the constitutionality of the preclearance provision of the voting rights act. however, it did struck down the formula that was used to determine which states and
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jurisdictions were subject to the preclearance provision. that has resulted in a number of changes to voting laws. in recent years, there have been new voting eligibility requirements that have emerged in multiple states. some of them have made it easier to vote, but some have made it more difficult to register and exercise your right to vote. as we said at the start of this exhibition, states' power to determining qualifications continues to be important today. we hope that the visitors of this exhibition will take this message home with them and learn about voting laws in their states so they can be engaged voters and ensure that they can exercise their right to vote every election day. so far the response has been overwhelmingly positive, both as i've walked visitors through the
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exhibit and as i've just tried to observe people. what i am most thrilled about is had a number of teenagers, it is field trip season here at the museum. they seem to really love the content. what i most excited about is the interactive voting booth. we felt like we needed to have a voting booth, so everybody, whether they are registered voters or have yet to register to vote, or are looking forward to that day they get to head to the polls and get the experience of voting here. you get the opportunity to see what ballot box issues are important to you. at the end of the experience, opportunity to take a selfie to share with your family and friends, something you can't do it any other polling place in the country.
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>> "rightfully hers: american women and the vote" will be on view at the national archives until january 2021. it has a traveling component with stops in florida, louisiana, tennessee and south carolina. >> american history to be products are now available at the new c-span online store. --to c-span store to see what is new and check out all the c-span products. our c-span cities tour takes american history to be on the road to feature the history of cities across america. here is a recent program. >>


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