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Wichita Marks Women’s Equality Day And The 95th Anniversary Of Women’s Voting Rights

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Known as “Women’s Equality Day,” August 26 is the day when the national law that went into effect in 1920 gave American women the right to vote and hold elective office.

Once the 19th Amendment became law, an organization called the League of Women Voters was created to help educate women about their new responsibility as voters.

KMUW’s Deborah Shaar spoke with Mary Knecht of the League’s local chapter about Kansas’ role in this history.

  

    

Credit Wichita State University
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Jane Brooks

“When the 19th Amendment passed and women got the right to vote, the leaders of the suffrage movement realized that women needed to be informed before they voted. So that’s why the League of Women Voters was organized. Jane Brooks of Wichita was selected as the first national president of the League of Women Voters. She came back to Wichita and chartered the first local chapter of the League.”

 

Credit Deborah Shaar
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Mary Knecht, Special Events Chair of The League of Women Voters Wichita Metro Chapter

    

“Kansas was actually the eighth state in the union to ratify the 19th Amendment.

“I think they feel like, 'How can my one little vote count and make a difference?' But the 19th Amendment was ratified by one vote. The 36th state was Tennessee, and it was one young legislator who had received a note from his mother saying, 'Son, I know you will do the right thing,' and so that was one vote. We had presidents that have been kept from being impeached because of one vote.”

 

Credit wikipedia.org
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Argonia Mayor Suzanne Eudora Salter

    

“Kansas had the first woman mayor elected in the nation. That was down in Argonia, Kansas, in 1887: Suzanna Madora Salter.”

The League of Women Voters Wichita Metro Chapter has a special program planned for Wednesday evening to celebrate the anniversary of the 19th Amendment.

 

A timeline of the movement leading up to the passage of the 19th Amendment:  

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Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar.

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.

Deborah joined the news team at KMUW in September 2014 as a news reporter. She spent more than a dozen years working in news at both public and commercial radio and television stations in Ohio, West Virginia and Detroit, Michigan. Before relocating to Wichita in 2013, Deborah taught news and broadcasting classes at Tarrant County College in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area.