Today marks the 90th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which granted women the right to vote. To mark the occasion, we would like to highlight portions of our collection dealing with the struggle for suffrage by women in Georgia.
Georgia suffragists used a variety of methods to support their cause. They created organizations that held conventions and rallies, lobbied the state legislature, and published articles in favor of women’s suffrage. One of the most popular and exciting ways of promoting their cause was to participate in parades. To the right is an image from the Vanishing Georgia Collection of a car decorated as a parade float by the Georgia Young People Suffrage Association, sometime before 1920. African American women were often excluded from such activities, and did most of their suffrage work through separate organizations, like the National Association of Colored Women.
The fight for suffrage in Georgia was not an easy one. Opponents of the cause in Georgia were numerous, organized, and vocal. This opposition was so strong that Georgia became the first state to reject the 19th amendment during the ratification process in 1919, and women in Georgia weren’t able to vote until 1922, due a law requiring Georgians to be registered for sixth months before an election. In fact, the Georgia state legislature didn’t ratify the 19th amendment until 1970. One particularly amusing example of this opposition is a pamphlet produced by the Georgia Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage entitled Unchaining the Demons of the Lower World: A Petition of Ninety-Nine Per Cent Against Suffrage. In the pamphlet, the author proposes that the female vote would lead to “the final undoing of our government.” You can read this publication by clicking on the image to the left.
To read more on women’s suffrage in Georgia, take a look at the New Georgia Encyclopedia article on Woman Suffrage. They also have articles on many of the women involved in the suffrage movement in Georgia including Rebecca Latimer Felton, Mary Latimer McLendon, Julia Flisch, and Lugenia Burns Hope. There are also articles on women who opposed suffrage, including Mildred Lewis Rutherford.