State Suffrage Centennials from 2019-2020

Don’t miss your state’s centennial!
By Kelsey Millay, States Events Director, Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission

On August 26, 2020, Americans across the country will celebrate 100 years of women’s right to vote. Leading up to that date, there are many other anniversaries to commemorate—the centennials of the state ratifications of the 19th Amendment.  

After a 72-year organized suffrage movement, passage of the 19th Amendment finally guaranteed women’s right to vote in the U.S. Constitution. The Amendment states, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Amendment on May 21, 1919, soon followed by the U.S. Senate on June 4, 1919. After passing in Congress, the Amendment went to the states for ratification. Three-fourths of the states needed to ratify the Amendment for it to become law. There were 48 states at the time, meaning 36 states needed to approve the Amendment. At first, many states ratified in quick succession, starting with Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan on June 10, 1919. But by the summer of 1920, progress had slowed.

A presidential election was coming up in November 1920, and suffragists were eager to see the states ratify so that women across the country could vote as soon as possible. By August 1920, it had been five months since any state had ratified. The remaining states had either already rejected the Amendment or were refusing to hold a vote. Suffragists turned to Tennessee as their last hope. On August 18, 1920, the Tennessee legislature narrowly ratified the 19th Amendment. It became the 36th and final state needed to solidify the Amendment, which the U.S. Secretary of State officially signed into law on August 26, 1920.

Throughout 2019 and 2020, the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission encourages each state to commemorate the 100th anniversary of its own ratification of the 19th Amendment by issuing executive orders, passing joint resolutions, and lighting buildings across the state in purple and gold. For states that did not ratify until after the 19th Amendment became law, plan your commemorations throughout 2019-2020, and particularly for August 26, 2020, to show your state’s unequivocal support for women’s right to vote today. In Alaska and Hawaii, which were territories at the time the 19th Amendment passed so did not ratify the legislation, use this centennial as a moment to celebrate your own state’s history of supporting women’s right to vote.

Take a look at the WSCC’s Centennial Planning Toolkit for additional ways to commemorate the centennial throughout the countdown to August 2020. Together, let’s make sure Americans across the country have the chance to celebrate their own communities’ roles in this historic moment!

When Did Your State Ratify the 19th Amendment? 

June 10, 1919 Wisconsin

June 10, 1919 Illinois

June 10, 1919 Michigan

June 16, 1919 Kansas

June 16, 1919 Ohio

June 16, 1919 New York

June 24, 1919 Pennsylvania

June 25, 1919 Massachusetts

June 28, 1919 Texas

July 2, 1919 Iowa

July 3, 1919 Missouri

July 28, 1919 Arkansas

August 2, 1919 Montana

August 2, 1919 Nebraska

September 8, 1919 Minnesota

September 10, 1919 New Hampshire

October 3, 1919 Utah

November 1, 1919 California

November 5, 1919 Maine

December 1, 1919 North Dakota

December 4, 1919 South Dakota

December 15, 1919 Colorado

January 6, 1920 Kentucky

January 6, 1920 Rhode Island

January 13, 1920 Oregon

January 16, 1920 Indiana

January 27, 1920 Wyoming

February 7, 1920 Nevada

February 9, 1920 New Jersey

February 11, 1920 Idaho

February 12, 1920 Arizona

February 21, 1920 New Mexico

February 28, 1920 Oklahoma

March 10, 1920 West Virginia

March 22, 1920 Washington

August 18, 1920 Tennessee

September 14, 1920 Connecticut

February 8, 1921 Vermont

March 6, 1923 Delaware

March 29, 1941 Maryland

February 21, 1952 Virginia

September 8, 1953 Alabama

May 13, 1969 Florida

July 1, 1969 South Carolina

February 20, 1970 Georgia

June 11, 1970 Louisiana

May 6, 1971 North Carolina

March 22, 1984 Mississippi

(Note: Though a territory at the time, Hawaii ceremonially ratified in 1919. Alaska did not ratify the 19th Amendment, but passed women’s suffrage in 1913 while still a territory).

 

Sources:

https://history.house.gov/Exhibitions-and-Publications/WIC/Historical-Essays/No-Lady/Womens-Rights/

https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/the-man-and-his-mom-who-gave-women-the-vote

https://www.blueshoenashville.com/suffragehistory.html

https://www.nps.gov/subjects/womenshistory/19th-amendment-by-state.htm

 

 

Kelsey Millay