Today is the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment giving women in the U.S. the right to vote! I have a special interest in women's voting rights--suffrage-- because of a local story related to Maryville, Missouri, the town where we have lived since 1990. But I wasn't always interested in suffrage. I didn't even know the meaning of the word.
Years ago, I found out that my friend, Mary, was interested in women's voting rights. So, when I saw a headline in the newspaper related to it, I cut out the article and mailed it to her. Even though we live hundreds of miles apart, Mary is my closest friend. We often email several times each week.
In 2013, it occurred to me that I should start reading the articles I was sending Mary before mailing them. One in particular caught my interest. It described a trip that a local ladies marching band had taken a hundred years earlier to a suffrage parade in Washington, D.C. I was hooked. I spent the next 7 years writing, revising, and submitting a manuscript featuring this fascinating event.
While there was interest in the subject from both agents and editors, and I was nearly awarded a contract (twice!) I ultimately decided to publish it myself. My plan was to release it March 3, the day of the parade. When that date passed, I set today's date, August 18, as the release date. Due to delays, the pandemic, and issues beyond my control, my book has not gone to print--hopefully it will by the end of the year. I'll share the book cover soon!
So, as we enter this contentious election season, being able to vote is more important than ever. It took many years, hard work, and dedication by both women and men to gain the vote. And while this was a huge victory for women, it didn’t include women of all races. It took many more years for Black, Native American, and Asian Americans to gain suffrage. Despite this, and despite the fact that people are still being disenfranchised, this is a day to celebrate!