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Commemorating 100 Years of Women’s Voting Rights

Celebrate the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote with the passing of the 19th Amendment. To recognize this 2020 milestone, several community partners are collaborating on events to honor that important moment in history and examine the struggles women endured in gaining that right. Did you know that Illinois was the first state to ratify the amendment? And Evanston women were particularly integral to the local, state and national women’s suffrage movements. Walk in their footsteps in a specially-themed Mother’s Day House Walk and learn from exhibits that take you back in time. Join the Suffrage Rally at the end of the summer to rekindle the energy and revel in what has been accomplished.

Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote
Sites throughout Evanston 

American democracy expanded dramatically in 1920 when the newly ratified 19th Amendment extended the right to vote to millions of women. Though a landmark voting rights victory, this document did not open the polls to all women. Millions remained unable to vote for reasons other than sex. Learn more at Rightfully Hers, a pop-up exhibition from the National Archives touring the U.S., examining the relentless spirit of diverse activists throughout U.S. history. Evanston museums, libraries, and other civic centers will rotate this historical showcase of more than 90 records, artifacts, and photographs, including original World War I–era Red Cross Uniforms, a National Woman's Party banner, and a collection of political campaign buttons. See the full exhibition viewing schedule here

Suffragists with poster and bonfire at the White House, Washington, DC, 1918. (National Archives, Records of the U.S. Information Agency)
Suffragists with poster and bonfire at the White House, Washington, DC, 1918. (National Archives, Records of the U.S. Information Agency)

Exhibit Opening: Evanston Women and the Fight for the Vote
Evanston History Center, 225 Greenwood St., Evanston

Marking International Women’s Day, Evanston Women and the Fight for the Vote — an essential new exhibit at the Evanston History Centerwill be on display during a special open house from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Telling the story of Evanston women and their strategic and critical work for women’s suffrage, the exhibit features archival resources, artifacts, and costumes from the center’s collection. It’s a great time to check out the center housed in the stunning chateau-style mansion overlooking glittering Lake Michigan, also known as the former luxury home of the 30th Vice President of the United States, Charles Gates Dawes. Free.

Evanston History Center/Charles Gates Dawes House, Evanston
Evanston History Center/Charles Gates Dawes House, Evanston

MAY 10
Annual Mother's Day House Walk
Begins at Evanston History Center, 225 Greenwood St., Evanston

This year, women's stories past and present will be highlighted on this annual Mother's Day House Walk, a popular North Shore event for forty-five years. Located in Northwest Evanston, each house along this tour is open so you can view the beautiful interiors of these architecturally and historically significant homes. Learn about the people who lived there or the architect who created the design. Together, they tell a story of Evanston and how the city developed over time, revealing or reminding us of forgotten treasures along the way. Bring Mom along as you walk through the houses at your own pace and in whatever order you like on this spring afternoon. Tickets are $40 each in advance; $45 on Mother's Day ($5 discount for center members); children 12+ require tickets.

Suffrage Rally
Fountain Square, Sherman Ave. and Davis St., Evanston

A rousing rally of suffragettes protesting for the right to vote took place right in the heart of Evanston in 1913. Come join the Suffrage Rally celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Right to Vote taking place in the very same place! Commemorate this significant milestone in women’s history that reminds us of a central and ongoing question in democratic societies about what citizenship is and who is a citizen. Food trucks, speeches, kids’ activities and more planned. (Follow the Facebook page for details throughout the summer.) Just a short walk from the square, visit the Francis Willard House to get up close and personal with the social reformer who stood out against gender inequality and fought to give a voice to society’s disenfranchised before the turn of the century.

Frances Willard and longtime secretary and companion Anna Gordon
Frances Willard and longtime secretary and companion Anna Gordon

For more info on what to see and do on Chicago's North Shore visit our detailed Calendar of Events and follow our Facebook page


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