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Commemorate Civic-Minded Women in Your Family for Women’s History Month

Forty-two years ago, in March 1978, a group of women in Santa Rosa, California decided to host a week-long celebration at a local park.to recognize the historical accomplishments and contributions of women in society.  Their event inspired women in other cities to have similar commemorations that later became a national event when President Jimmy Carter declared March 8, 1980 as Women’s History Week. In 1987 members of Congress voted to designate March as Women’s History Month.

Since Women’s History Month this year takes place during the election season, it is fitting that the National Women’s History Alliance made “Valiant Women of the Vote” the theme for March. In keeping with the theme, special recognition will be given to historic women who fought for women’s suffrage and women of today who advocate for voting rights.

While there will be many marches, ceremonies and other public celebrations honoring historic women, this is also a good time to pay homage to the historic women in your personal circle of family members and friends.

Are there stories that should be told of women in your family who were or are voting rights advocates? Were there any aunts who volunteered as poll workers, or cousins who provided transportation for elderly voters? Were there any women who hosted fundraising dinners for political candidates or organized voter education classes? Does anyone in your family still remember stories about a relative who was a suffragist? Why not take some time to capture their memories? You can even compile a timeline of historic accomplishments of the women in your family.

Let March be the motivating month for you to grab your writing material, camera, audio and video devices and document the stories of the civic-minded and voter activist women in your family and preserve their stories for generations to come.

Commemorative stamp honoring19th amendment to the US Constitution, allowing women to vote


The National Women’s History Alliance, which promotes women’s history, education and inclusion, selects the annual themes for Women’s History Month and holds commemorative events for its honorees.

Here are the 2020 honorees for Valiant Women of the Vote:

Current honorees

Maria Teresa Kumar
CEO, Voto Latino

Eleanor Holmes Norton
Civil Rights Leader, Congressperson, Lawyer and Organizer

Terry Ao Minnis
Senior Director of the Census and Voting Programs, Asian Americans Advancing Justice

Posthumous honorees:

Lucy Burns – July 28, 1879 – December 22, 1966
American Woman Suffrage Activist

Carrie Chapman Catt – January 9, 1859 – March 9, 1947
American Woman Suffrage Activist

Wilhelmina Kekelaokalaninui Widemann Dowsett – Mar 28, 1861 – Dec 10, 1929
Suffragist, founder of the National Women’s Equal Suffrage Association of Hawai’i

Ana Roqué de Duprey – April 18, 1853 – 1933
Suffragist and Co-founder of the University of Puerto Rico

Elizabeth Piper Ensley – 1847-1919
Educator and African American suffragist

Marie Foster – October 24, 1917 – September 6, 2003
Civil Rights Leader

Dr. Mabel Ping-Hua Lee – 1896-1966
Suffragist, member of the Women’s Political Equality League

Virginia Louisa Minor – March 27, 1824 – August 14, 1894
American Women Suffrage Activist

Anna Howard Shaw – February 14, 1847 – July 2, 1919
American Woman Suffrage Activist

Visit  National Women’s History Alliance  for more details about each honoree.

Photo courtesy of Library of Congress / Public domain


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