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 Volume 12, Issue 64  |  August 11, 2020


19th Amendment Celebration Book Club Event honors Centennial Anniversary on August 19

In honor of the Centennial Anniversary of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote, several celebratory events will be held online in August. 

On Wednesday, August 19, Leesa Graves will hold a book club discussion on The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote by Elaine Weiss via Zoom. 

Leesa Graves coordinated the 2020 California Suffrage Project and is a past Associate Director of the National Women’s History Alliance.

In support of local women owned businesses, it is suggested that participants purchase a copy of the book or others reviewed below at Laguna Beach Books. 

Graves says, “The historic campaign to secure the vote for women was the result of a decades long fight led by women and men with diverse backgrounds and experiences. Below is a sample list of books that offer insight and analysis of the extraordinary efforts and courageous acts of suffragists in the United States.”

 The Woman’s Hour, by Elaine Weiss (Book Club Event selection)

After 72 tumultuous years, the fight for the ratification of the 19th Amendment would come down to one state: Tennessee. As an award-winning journalist, Elaine Weiss narrates this historical tale of the final months of the suffrage movement. Expertly researched, Weiss includes a detailed and intriguing account of the suffrage movement that leaves the reader in suspense up until the final pages. Never shying away from controversy, Weiss tackles the complexity of the movement including the campaign strategies of both the anti-suffragists and suffragists as well as draws the reader’s attention to the racism within the suffrage movement. This unique examination of the final leg of the suffrage campaign is an important contribution to national efforts to celebrate the legacy of the movement.

19th Amendment holding books

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

In front of Laguna Beach Books: (L-R) Madeleine Peterson, Deena Harros, Owner of LB Books Jane Hanauer, Patti Ohslund, and Dee Perry

African American Women and the Vote: 1837-1965, Edited by Ann D. 

Gordon and Bettye Collier Thomas

In the fall of 1987, the University of Massachusetts held a conference that would forever change the historical narrative of the women’s suffrage movement. The Afro-American Women and the Vote: From Abolition to Voting Rights Act conference brought together historians with the goal to solidify the vital political contributions of African American women. Born from this conference is this collection of essays that rightfully centers the voices and lived experiences of Black women who have given rise to social change throughout the history of the United States. This revolutionary collection of essays is a vital piece in our collective understanding of the history of women’s voting rights. This transformative work highlights the legacy of Black women as change makers and ensures their courageous efforts are memorialized and celebrated.

Why They Marched: Untold Stories of the Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote, by Susan Ware

Why They Marched challenges the traditional suffrage narrative that a “few iconic leaders, all white and native born” were the sole procurers of the 19th Amendment. Moving beyond the national stage, Ware brings the reader to the smaller segments of the movement, that were a vital part of the larger suffrage efforts. Using primary source documents, Ware recounts how the revolutionary actions of the suffragists took place on college campuses, on the tops of mountains, in church parlors, at club meetings, and in the streets all across the United States. Through the objects that leaders of the movement carried, Ware adds a new lens with which to discuss the movement. Ware highlights the innovation and courage of the women of the suffrage movement, reminding us that social change requires each of us to be courageous and take action.

19th Amendment closeup

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

19th Amendment Committee Chair Patti Ohslund

 The Women’s Suffrage Movement Foreword by Gloria Steinem, Edited by Sally Roesch Wagner

This anthology edited by Sally Roesch Wagner is a must-have book in any women’s history library. Wagner walks the reader through the decades-long fight for women, allowing the women’s voices and words to deliver their message. Readers will be inspired with hope for a brighter future through the actions, speeches, and written words of the courageous people who fought to secure the ballot for women. 

Eloquently sharing her historic observations, Wagner “challenges the time markers” and narratives of the suffrage movement, intent on contributing to the expansion and full telling of the women’s suffrage campaign. This book is an example of the necessary reshaping and retelling of history that allows for the full humanity and lived experience of those who came before us.

 One Person, No Vote by Carol Andersen

There is a long tradition of confining the woman’s suffrage movement to the 72 years between the Seneca Falls Convention and the ratification of the 19th Amendment. As we celebrate the Centennial it is important to recognize that the ratification of the amendment was not the end of the struggle for the vote. After the ratification of the 19th Amendment, many eligible voters were denied their voting rights through racist laws that sought to keep Black voters and voters of color from accessing the ballot. Anderson’s examination of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the aftermath of the Shelby ruling (the 2013 Supreme Court decision) demonstrates how the continued efforts to dismantle voting rights are still alive and well in the United States today.

Anyone interested in this event and others may RSVP at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

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Alexis Amaradio, Barbara Diamond, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Marrie Stone, Maggi Henrikson, Samantha Washer, Stacia Stabler and Suzie Harrison are our writers and/or columnists. Scott Brashier is our photographer.

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