How the National Park Foundation Is Celebrating the Centennial Year of Women's Right to Vote
Aug. 18, 1920 marks the day the nation's 36th state ratified the 19th Amendment, meeting the criteria needed for it to become a law.
To celebrate 100 years of women having the right to vote, the nonprofit partner of the National Park Service, the National Park Foundation, issued $460,000 in grants to parks where milestones in women's history took place.
The grants, announced Tuesday — the centennial anniversary of when the 19th amendment was ratified on Aug. 18, 1920 — will provide educational resources for visitors to learn about significant events and milestones that shaped women's history at certain parks and the financial means to preserve them. In total, there were 23 grants made through the foundation's Women in Parks initiative.
“The National Park Service offers unique opportunities to learn about women's important contributions and how even their silent and diverse everyday lives formed the foundations of America,” National Park Service chief historian Dr. Turkiya Lowe said in a statement. “Parks are spaces to ask complex questions about the history of the United States, including, 'Did all women obtain full voting rights after the passage of the 19th amendment?' 'And, if not, which women and where?'”
Parks that represent major events in the women's rights movement include the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, which once provided a passageway for women to attend the Women's Right Convention in Seneca Falls, NY, and the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument in Washington, D.C., where a 200-year-old house that once served as headquarters for the National Women's Party still sits.
The funds granted will go towards project development and preservation of these iconic spots commemorating women's work for equality spanning from coast to coast.
Specifically, projects that will be funded include the production of online resources and content, including oral histories of the women of the Northern Arapaho tribe and their indigenous history at the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area in Colorado, and an exhibit dedicated to the wife of Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta Scott King, at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park in Georgia.
“Every park has a connection to women that can inspire current and future generations,” NPF president and CEO Will Shafroth said in a statement. “The National Park Foundation and our donors, are thrilled to make stories about women’s contributions to our country, past and present, accessible to all people through parks and online.”
The 19th Amendment prevents a U.S. citizen from being denied the right to vote on the basis of sex. Aug. 18, 1920 marks the day that the nation's 36th state, Tennessee, ratified the 19th Amendment, meeting the criteria of three-fourths of states needed for it to become a law. The amendment was signed into law on Aug. 26, 1920, which is now known as Women's Equality Day.
Visitors to the parks are encouraged to consult each destinations' website for opening information and new safety protocols due to COVID-19.