PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Monday marks one hundred years since women in Rhode Island were assured the right to vote, and the state agency overseeing elections is celebrating the occasion.
Rhode Island ratified the 19th Amendment to the Constitution on Jan. 6, 1920, according to the office of Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea.
Throughout 2020, Gorbea’s office will be heading up several programs and activities commemorating women’s suffrage with the intent of increasing civic literacy and engagement. Among them is a partnership with the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, a program entitled “XIX: Shall Not Be Denied” designed to spotlight women’s suffrage efforts.
At the State House Library Monday morning, with the announcement of the programs, an exhibit was unveiled showing photographs, handbills, advertising, letters and other artifacts of the efforts towards votes for women in the state, and connections to the launch of the women’s suffrage campaign at the 1848 Woman’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York.
The Rhode Island General Assembly ratified the 19th Amendment by a vote of 89 to 3 in the House and 38 to 1 in the Senate. By August 1920, 36 states ratified the amendment.
The Council for the Humanities’ Executive Director, Elizabeth Francis, Ph.D., said the group welcomed the opportunity to connect the achievements of the women’s suffrage movements “to the work that still remains to ensure equal access to voting and other rights.”
“It’s time to learn not just about our past victories, but also from our mistakes, and to dream of a new world where inclusion and voices are heard even more so than they are now,” Gorbea said.