The year 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, making it possible for women to vote. This accomplishment was not simple, quick or easy.

The first meeting was held in Seneca Falls, N.Y., in 1848. Seventy-two years later, after thousands of women and men, black and white, marched, protested, sacrificed family and financial resources and in many cases were imprisoned and even died, women won the right to vote.

By summer 1920, 35 states had ratified the amendment; only one vote was needed and two states remained: North Carolina and Tennessee. After a special called session of the N.C. legislature and a long, hot summer of work by the Equal Suffrage Association of North Carolina, the bill failed. The suffragists were down to the final state. While the Tennessee Senate voted to ratify, the House was split. On the morning of the third reading of the bill, a young legislator received a letter from his mother, a widow with three young children at home, in which she wrote “vote for suffrage.”

One woman and one courageous legislator changed history. No one has been given the vote. Every segment of our population had to fight for this sacred right and the struggle continues.

Willie Taylor

Greensboro

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