Women’s suffrage movement exhibit showcases community’s history

Published: Sep. 7, 2020 at 11:27 PM CDT
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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - As people across the nation celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, during the month of September, the Lincoln County Historical Museum is hosting a women’s suffrage movement display. The display highlights the national movement and the North Platte community’s chapter in history.

The Women’s Suffrage Movement began around 1820s and 1830s when most states granted all men the right to vote, despite how much property or wealth they attained. Also during this time, reform groups were forming across the United States, where most had women prominent, or leadership, roles.

This sparked the idea of womanhood existing outside of their common roles as a wives and mothers. All together, this created a new meaning of what it meant to be a woman and citizen in the United States. Women across the nation found ways to make their voices heard although being silenced by each state’s legislation.

Jim Griffin, Director and Curator of the Lincoln County Memorial Museum, shared how the earliest references we have to the suffrage movement that we find here are from the mid-1870s, within about ten years after North Platte was even founded.

In 1881 and 1882, suffragists in Nebraska fought to amend the state constitution to provide for women suffrage. A bill was introduced and debated to the Nebraska House of Representatives which would extend suffrage to women, but only municipal offices.

Women continued to fight for equality not solely based on gender, but for everyone. In 1914, the Nebraska Women’s Suffrage Association launched a campaign to place the issue on the ballot. When they were finally able to pass the partial suffrage law in 1917 here in Nebraska, a referendum was put into place.

In 1919, Congress approved the 19th Amendment, roughly 36 states needed to vote in favor of it for it to become a law.

The women’s suffrage display at the Lincoln County Historical Museum illustrations the hardship, resilience and pride women here in North Platte and in the United States possessed to get the 19th amendment passed.

The Lincoln County Historical Museum will be hosting a pancake brunch September 19th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tickets are seven dollars per person, six dollars for children ages 6-12 and children 5 and under are free. All proceeds go towards museum operation cost and upkeep of historic buildings in the community.

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