2 Mar

Map of the Week: The Suffragist Years

By Isobel Lu

March 1st marks the start of Women’s History Month in the United States. Throughout this month, organizations and schools across the nation will commemorate women’s vital contributions in history, culture, and society. 

The Library of Congress opened an exhibit Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote in 2019, telling the story of the suffrage movement from 1848 to 1920, in which many trailblazing women led the path to gaining the right to vote. The exhibition provides a collection of historical handwritten documents, photographs, and speeches that played a key role in their fight for equality. 

The National Woman Suffrage Association was formed by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony in 1869, and the association went on to campaign for a universal-suffrage amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The movement continued to grow, with many women joining forces to march, lobby, and hold civil protests at the White House to stand up for their rights. 

Following the opening of the exhibit, a blog post from the Library of Congress has collected a series of historical maps from the suffragist years. The map above, from the Empire State Campaign Committee, depicts the voting status for American women in 1914, and was used as a persuasion tactic by suffragists in posters and pamphlets spread during the movement. In 1920, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, officially granting women the right to vote.  

It is important to remember and honor these women who for decades fought tirelessly for the right to vote. The perseverance and courage they carried during their time continues to inspire women across the country today.