Suffrage: Virginia-Focused Milestones

July 1st, 2020

Our state's timeline of women's rights

Equal Suffrage League of Virginia at Virginia State Capitol, 1915
Equal Suffrage League of Virginia at Virginia State Capitol, 1915 | Image courtesy of the Virginia Museum of History & Culture

  • July 1848 – The first women’s rights convention is held in Seneca Falls, New York.


  • Nov. 27, 1909 – A group of women, including Kate Waller Barrett, Kate Langley Bosher, Adèle Clark, Ellen Glasgow, Nora Houston, Mary Johnston and Lila Meade Valentine, found the Equal Suffrage League of Virginia.


  • February 1910 – The Equal Suffrage League of Virginia joins the National American Women’s Suffrage Organization.


  • 1912 – Lila Meade Valentine persuades a group of Richmond businessmen to form the Men’s Equal Suffrage League of Virginia.


  • 1914 – The Equal Suffrage League of Virginia begins publishing a monthly newspaper called the Virginia Suffrage News.


  • Jan. 9, 1917 – Alice Paul and the National Women’s Party meet with President Woodrow Wilson to demand the right to vote.


  • Jan. 10, 1917 – The Silent Sentinels begin their two-year vigil on the sidewalk in front of the White House.


  • Nov. 1917 – The Night of Terror occurs when 32 female picketers in front of the White House are arrested and imprisoned at the Occoquan Workhouse in Lorton.


  • Sept. 30, 1918 – President Wilson delivers a speech in the Senate chamber. Only the second president in the nation’s history to personally appear before the Senate, Wilson implored senators to pass the constitutional amendment providing for women’s suffrage.


  • June 4, 1919 – The U.S. Congress passes the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The amendment guarantees women the right to vote, but it still must be ratified by 36 states before becoming law.


  • 1920 – The newly founded Virginia League of Women Voters begins to sponsor registration drives and voter education programs.


  • Feb. 12, 1920 – The Virginia General Assembly votes not to ratify the 19th Amendment.


  • Aug. 18, 1920 – Tennessee becomes the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment, completing the ratification process.


  • Feb. 21, 1952 – The Virginia General Assembly ratifies the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, 32 years after it became law.

Dates sourced from The Campaign for Woman Suffrage in Virginia by Brent Tartar, Marianne E. Julienne & Barbara C. Batson and from Pat Wirth from the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial

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