The suffrage history of Maryland’s historic site is often overlooked. The need is there to research and document the tangible connections to the extraordinary fight to gain women the right to vote. This information can then be used to update the existing historic record for more inclusive information about Maryland’s suffragists.
In preparation for the centennial of the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States which gave women the right to vote, Preservation Maryland in undertaking a project to emphasize the struggles, achievements and personal contributions of a once disenfranchised majority as part of a larger story of civil rights movements in Maryland and America.
On August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was signed into law and officially granted twenty million American women the right to vote. This mass expansion in voting rights was the result of over 70 years of intense activism known as the women’s suffrage movement. The success of this campaign was driven by the hard work and commitment of a nationwide pool of women of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, including thousands of Marylanders.
Maryland’s suffragists played an important role in the passage of the 19th Amendment. Even though the Maryland legislature failed to ratify the suffrage amendment at the time, the women’s suffrage movement had a powerful impact on the state. Mass activism by suffragists throughout Maryland permanently changed the social and political roles of women by bringing them into new spheres of civic and political engagement. The diversity of sites associated with the suffrage movement reflects the breadth of suffragists’ work and the wide range of strategies they used to marshal social and political power in the face of entrenched institutional opposition.
This project’s goals are to update and amend the listings for numerous National Register Historic Districts, multiple individually listed National Register historic properties, document previously overlooked historic sites that are important to the women’s suffrage movement and widely promote the contributions of Maryland’s suffragists to this landmark civil rights struggle. Since women’s suffrage organizations were racially segregated in the years leading up to the passage of the 19th Amendment, this project will pay particular attention to historic sites associated with Maryland’s African American women who were active in the suffrage movement.
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