On Oct. 4, the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics will host the closing event of the Hard Won, Not Done 19th Amendment statewide centennial commemoration at the Scheman Building at the Iowa State Center in Ames. Dr. Marjorie Spruill, author and distinguished professor emerita of history from the University of South Carolina, will be the keynote speaker. The event is free and open to the public.
Following the kickoff event held at Iowa State University on Feb. 14, 2020, many of the state’s centennial commemoration events scheduled for 2020 had to be postponed or cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many organizations, including the 19th Amendment Centennial Commemoration Committee, extended their centennial events into 2021.
“Despite the COVID-19 pandemic setback, with the cooperation of 16 different organizations and agencies, we were able to complete 19 of our 26 planned endeavors,” said former state representative Doris Kelley, chair of Iowa’s 19th Amendment Centennial Commemoration Committee. “The ‘Hard Won – Not Done’ fight for voting equity started in 1846 and carries over to this day with the continued battle for equal rights. Collectively, we must realize our task is not done.”
Spruill’s lecture, “Divided We Stand,” will begin at 7 p.m. in Benton Auditorium in the Scheman Building.
Spruill is well known for her work on women and politics from the woman suffrage movement to the present, as well as her work on the history of the American South. She is the author of the books “Divided We Stand: The Battle Over Women’s Rights and Family Values That Polarized American Politics” (2017) and “New Women of the New South: The Woman Suffrage Movement in the Southern States” (1993), as well as the editor of five books on suffrage. She appeared in Nashville Public Television’s documentary “By One Vote” about the woman suffrage movement in the South and Tennessee and was an advisor to the National Archives for its exhibit, “Rightfully Hers,” prepared for the centennial of the 19th Amendment.
“We are honored to bring such a renowned scholar to campus,” said center director Karen Kedrowski. “Dr. Spruill’s lecture is a fitting conclusion to our two-year commemoration of the 19th Amendment and women’s rights.”
“I’m very much looking forward to my first visit to Iowa and the Iowa State campus. I’m honored to be invited by the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics and to participate in commemorating the Nineteenth Amendment commemoration in the home state of the suffrage movement’s major general,” Spruill said. “I look forward to talking about how the fight for equal rights for all American women continued after 1920 and how women’s movements of the 1970s not only stimulated greater participation by women of all political persuasions but also shaped modern political culture.”
The event will also include a display of a suffrage wagon replica and the traveling museum exhibit “Toward a Universal Suffrage: African American Women in Iowa and the Vote for All.”
The suffrage wagon, which will be on display outside the Scheman Building on the day of the event, is a replica of the one first used in the late 19th century by abolitionist and women’s rights activist Lucy Stone and other suffragists.
The wagon is one of two suffrage wagons commissioned by the 19th Amendment Centennial Commemoration Committee as part of the centennial celebration. The wagons can be requested for use in parades or for display at museums and public libraries and at other organizations and events statewide on the committee’s website.
The “Toward a Universal Suffrage” exhibit honors and celebrates the contributions of African American women in Iowa to the women’s suffrage movement. The exhibit, which will be displayed in the lounge next to Benton Auditorium, is a collaboration between the Iowa Department of Human Rights’ Office on the Status of Women, the Central Iowa Community Museum, and the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State University.
This exhibit is available for display at other organizations and events and is currently on display at the Davenport Public Library. The exhibit schedule and a portal to request hosting the exhibit can be found on the Central Iowa Community Museum website.
On Oct. 3, Spruill will also be visiting the Carrie Chapman Catt Girlhood Home and Museum in Charles City, Iowa, for a tour and will be speaking at the Charles City Public Library.
The event is co-sponsored by the Catt Center and Iowa’s 19th Amendment Centennial Commemoration Committee. Member organizations of the committee include the League of Women Voters of Iowa and its 11 local chapters, AAUW of Iowa, Iowa Commission on the Status of Women, 50-50 in 2020, Women Lead Change, Iowa Women’s Foundation, National 19th Amendment Society, Iowa NOW, Iowa Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, NEXUS Executive Women’s Alliance, Business and Professional Women of Iowa, Iowa State Education Association, Drake University, University of Iowa, University of Northern Iowa and Iowa State University.