The 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and the founding of the League of Women Voters of the United States and the Massachusetts League offers an opportunity for local Leagues to remember and learn from the past, showcase their accomplishments, increase appreciation for the mission of LWV, focus on current issues, and celebrate!
This toolkit suggests activities for local Leagues, presents projects by local Leagues, and provides resources.
The toolkit is a “living document,” meaning we will be adding items as we become aware of them. If you have a project, activity, or event to share, please email a description and contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
|February 14, 1920||League of Women Voters established|
|May 27, 1920||League of Women Voters of Massachusetts established|
|August 26, 1920||19th Amendment adopted|
Holidays that Celebrate Women
- Women’s History Month – March – The entire month of March is recognized as Women’s History Month; a time to celebrate the tremendous contributions that women have made throughout history.
- International Women’s Day – March 8 – This global celebration takes place each year to celebrate women’s achievements in every part of our society (economic, political and social).
- Equal Pay Day – Date varies each year – Equal Pay day is run by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) and is focused on creating awareness of the wage gap between men and women. The date represents the wage gap for that year, so it fluctuates based on what they number is.
- Women’s Equality Day – August 26 – This day celebrates the certification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. constitution, giving women the right to vote.
Honor the League’s History and Accomplishments
Host an Anniversary Event
An anniversary event can take on many forms. It can be a guest speaker, panel discussion, historical presentation, performance, luncheon, tea—whatever you want. It can be a forum you have already planned on a relevant topic such as threats to voting, climate emergency, threats to women’s rights, etc., but include a celebratory cake in honor of the anniversaries. See the Anniversary Events Calendar for a listing of the anniversary events our local Leagues are planning.
Showcase Your History and Accomplishments
Although it is probably not your local League’s 100th anniversary, you can embrace the anniversaries of LWVUS, LWVMA and women’s suffrage as your own. It is a good time to update your own League’s history, incorporating state and national history, and post it on your website.
You can also ask your local Select Board/Board of Selectmen, City Council, Mayor, etc. to issue a proclamation honoring your League for the anniversary. See a proclamation template on the LWVUS Day of Action website.
LWVMA has compiled a list of the founding years of all Leagues in MA based on records from LWVUS—that’s a good place to start. You can intermingle state and national milestones in with your own. Looking through your League’s archival material is fun and rewarding.
Some local Leagues have their own history on their websites. Here are a few:
Others have created more detailed documents for a recent local League anniversary
LWV-Newton (Anne Borg) interviewed Fredie Kay and Linda Morrison for local cable station show about the history of women’s suffrage and LWV.
The Day of Action webpage includes information that can be used at any time, not just for the Day of Action project. The LWVUS website history page is a good source that local Leagues can use as part of their own history. The photos may be copied and used in videos and documents.
Large panels of the LWV photos through the decades are available to borrow from LWV-Needham. Post them on easels at forums or meetings.
The League of Women Voters recognizes that it was not as welcoming to African Americans as it should have been throughout its history. Here are some resources to help understand this aspect of League and suffrage history.
Watch the LWVUS Webinar “Acknowledging the Past, Reimagining the Future”, August 29, 2019 – Past LWVUS President Carolyn Jefferson-Jenkins presented this webinar speaking about the courageous and often overlooked women of color, and how we can move forward to actualize our values as individuals and as an organization.
Read this article originally published in The Hill: “This Women’s Equality Day, Stop Romanticizing the 19th Amendment” by Virginia Kase, CEO of the League of Women Voters, 8/26/2019.
Literature and the Arts
- Select a book for members to read and schedule a discussion
- Ask members read a book of their choice and then report on all the books read to the group
- Collaborate with your local library for a townwide book reading
- Select a children’s book and donate copies to the age-appropriate school libraries
- Arrange to read a children’s book at local elementary schools
There are many fascinating books about the suffrage movement and the women’s movement. Suffrage100MA (the Women’s Suffrage Celebration Coalition of MA) has compiled a comprehensive list of books about women and women’s suffrage. To search or filter this list use the tool in the box in the upper right labelled: Search Suffrage100MA’s books.
The LWVMA local League engagement committee has reviewed many of the books and created a list. This list may be viewed on the screen (advance the pages using the up and down arrows at the bottom of the page), or downloaded as a pdf.
In addition, members of the League of Women Voter of the Northampton Area has prepared a list of children’s books after reviewing many books in local libraries, with thanks to the collaboration of the librarians at Forbes Library in Northampton, Lilly Library in Florence, and Meekins Library in Williamsburg. They have chosen twenty books that they believe will have strong appeal to elementary school children and their teachers. You will find many others in your local libraries, especially in the biography section.LL Toolkit for 100th Books
- Members can watch a film together followed by a discussion.
- Ask members to watch the film at home and join together for a discussion.
- Host a film at a public venue.
- Select a series of films to watch either in a private or public setting.
Previewed films available on DVD are listed below. A film series does not have to be limited to the suffrage topic. Films can highlight women’s achievements and/or struggles, female directors, a League action area such as the environment, guns, immigration, etc. Check your subscription services for availability, YouTube, or purchase the DVD.
The League of Women Voters of Needham is hosting, with the local library, the “Women Take Action Film Series” featuring documentary films about women who have had an impact on the course of US history.LL Toolkit for 100th Films
Attend a Performance of We Did It for You: Women’s Journey Through History
We Did It for You: Women’s Journey Through History is the story of how women got their rights in America, told by the women who were there. It is an entertaining tour through the journey, starting with the struggle women had in the 17th century Puritan Revolution through to our 21st century empowered women politicians. A dedicated troupe of women will entertain and educate you with this incredible experience.
Local Leagues can bring this Massachusetts based theatrical presentation to be shown locally. See the play’s website for upcoming performances that may be in your area. If you are interested in hosting the performance contact email@example.com.
Re-enactors and Other Speakers
Judith Kalaora is a Boston area re-enactor who will perform at League events, schools, churches, etc. She has several characters, all of whom represent a woman or women who were pioneers in their fields, including pioneering Massachusetts suffragist Lucy Stone.
Kathryn Woods recreates the life of famous abolitionist, feminist, and escaped slave Sojourner Truth.
Laura Harrington is an author and playwright who lives on the North Shore and has spoken at League events in the area. She has spoken about her dynamic musical comedy of politics, power and persuasion The Perfect 36, about the struggle to persuade 36 states to ratify the 19th amendment, granting women the right to vote.
Pat Jordan presents a one-woman play celebrating Votes for Women! “Carrie Chapman Catt: Suffragist Leader & Founder of The League Of Women Voters”
Sheryl Faye presents Susan B. Anthony, a women’s rights activist, who devoted her life to racial, gender, and educational equality.
Partner with the high school art department on a public art project about the League, suffrage, or women and their achievements and/or struggles. Display at the school or a public space, indoors or outdoors.
LWV-Amherst is combining their 80th anniversary with the 100th with a month-long exhibit at the Jones library in Amherst. The Sudbury, Needham and Greater Haverhill Leagues have or will be part of displays or exhibits at their local libraries.
Tabling at Public Events
Leagues often have a table at town fairs (indoors and out), farmers markets, etc. To attract people to your table, set up a suffrage display. Local Leagues have materials they will share with other Leagues, including a display kit with a life-size cutout suffragist (based on an actual photo) and a LWV suffrage banner, with a stand to keep them stable and secure. Additional props include hats and sashes. LWV-Wellesley borrowed the kit for a recent event.
Community parades can give your League great visibility, make a point, or give a history lesson.
- Ask your local parade organizers to make the anniversary of suffrage or LWV the parade theme.
- Dress up as suffragists and walk in the parade.
- Design a float that honors women or some period in women’s history.
- Design a float that uses the Votes for Women theme to encourage voting in the 2020 elections (primaries and general election).
The League of Women Voters of Needham honored the Silent Sentinels, who picketed the White House in 1915-1917 and were the subject of the film Iron Jawed Angels. The July 4th, 2019 float, a replica of the Woodrow Wilson White House, is available to local Leagues to use, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. See Needham’s website for photos and a 3-minute video.
Tabling, Display and Parade Items Available for Local Leagues
Make your own yellow rose pins! The League of Women Voters of Concord-Carlisle have created a video on how to make felt Yellow Rose pins. Click on the photo to watch the video.
Borrow items from local Leagues! Items available are shown below in this multi-page PDF embedded below. This list may be viewed on the screen (advance the pages using the up and down arrows at the bottom of the page), or downloaded as a pdf.LL Toolkit for 100th Materials
Buy League and suffrage items! The League of Women Voters of Missouri has extensive LWV and women’s suffrage materials for sale including sashes, buttons, stand-ups, tablecloths. Sales are through a Missouri banner company, and email for a pricelist.
Field Trips—Events and Exhibits
Be sure to check the websites well in advance, as most exhibits have a start and end date.
- Check with your local libraries and historical societies/museums to see if they have exhibits ongoing or planned.
- Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America (Cambridge)
- Boston Women’s Heritage Trail offers walking tours, programs and self-guided tours.
- Black Heritage Trail
- Museum of African American History
- Boston by Foot is offering “Women’s History Tours” in honor of the 100th Anniversary of women’s suffrage.
- Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum (Adams)
- National Archives Museum (Washington, DC): “Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote”
- Smithsonian National Museum of American History (Washington, DC)
- Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument (Washington, DC)
- Library of Congress (Washington, DC): “Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote”
- One Woman One Vote Festival 2020
Partner in Your Community
American History is taught in 5th grade, 8th grade and High School in MA.
- LWV-Northampton initiated a civic education project with local schools in their fairly large League area. Download a flyer template (in word).
- Work with schools to bring in re-enactors.
- Suggest a suffrage parade re-enactment. Students research women’s suffrage parades, clothes, sashes, buttons, signs, banners, then parade around the school, stopping at classrooms to give a short description of historical significance.
- League members read an age-appropriate book about women’s suffrage to fifth graders in local schools.
- “Making the World Better: The Struggle for Equality in 19th Century America” MassHumanities curriculum packets to teach about Massachusetts State House Women’s Leadership Project honorees and advocates for equal rights, Lucy Stone and Sarah Parker Remond.
- Make teachers and students aware of the Internet African American History Challenge. “The Internet African American History Challenge© is an interactive quiz that helps you sharpen your knowledge of African American History. It’s an “open book” test. So if you’re not sure of an answer, you can check our reference material for help. Level I is the easiest and has 7 questions while levels II & III have 10 questions each and are a bit more challenging.”
- The National Endowment for the Humanities hosts EDSITEment, a vast array of articles, information and programs, a goldmine of materials. Includes resources for lesson plans, activities for students plus extensive links to additional materials for educators and the public. Some of the relevant topics:
- “Voting Rights for Women: Pro- and Anti-Suffrage” Grades 9-12, 4-5 class period
- “Who Were the Foremothers of the Women’s Suffrage and Equality Movements?” Grades 6-12, 3-4 class periods
- “Women’s Equality: Changing Attitudes and Beliefs” Grades 9-12, 1-2 class periods
- “Women’s Suffrage: Why the West First?” Grades 6-12, 1-2 class periods
- Many of the suggestions above for schools can work with Scouts.
- Reach out to scout groups to discuss possibly collaboration.
- Design a “women’s suffrage patch” and create criteria to earn it—including attending local League events, reading a book, participating in other organizations’ relevant events, interviewing a female elected official, craft projects based on research, etc.
- Don’t forget the Boy Scouts!
- Ask your local government (mayor, board, council) to honor your League with a proclamation honoring the 100th Anniversary. See a sample proclamation.
- Ask your local government to issue a proclamation honoring Women’s Equality Day 2020 (August 26). Several organizations could join in this request.
- Host a panel discussion with women in government.
- Research women in government in your city or town.
- Ask your historical society to make a presentation on the history of women’s suffrage in your city or town.
- Collaborate on a public display on the history of the League in your city/town.
- Arrange for a public display of LWV, suffrage, or some aspect of women’s rights.
- Collaborate with library on an author presentation, film series, or re-enactor.
- Suggest that the library run a course or present a single talk on the history of the LWV.
- Collaborate with local cable stations on short and/or long documentaries about the local League history and current activities.
- Invite local “experts” for interview program about LWV.
- Write a letter to the editor, op-ed, or regular (e.g. monthly) column on what LWV has accomplished/still does for the city/town. See LWVUS toolkit for template.
- Submit photos from events celebrating LWV/suffrage.
Clubs and organizations
- Reach out to clubs and organizations in your area to speak about the role of LWV
- Collaborate on projects with groups such as the Women’s Club, Rotary, etc.
League of Women Voters
LWVUS has created a toolkit for the 100th Anniversary.
The more recent toolkit for the LWVUS “She Is Me” campaign outlines the purpose and goals of the campaign and features social media posts, customizable graphics, and portrait photography guidelines so that you can participate at many different levels.
The official LWV 100th Anniversary logo and slogan are available in several formats.
See the history of LWV by decade.
Suffrage100MA is coordinating the celebration for the state. Local Leagues may become partners, members may sign up for their emails, and Leagues can participate in the events.
The Commonwealth Museum, in collaboration with the Suffrage100MA, is creating and displaying “Suffragist of the Month Panels,” featuring suffragists from Massachusetts and beyond. A “Suffragist of the Month” is being featured in a lobby display and all are displayed on their website as they are produced.
The Library of Congress July/August Magazine includes extensive information about suffrage and women members of Congress. Excellent resource and interesting read. Exhibits are on display for a limited time.
There are many websites dedicated to women’s suffrage, and more will be coming. Here are some of the online resources.
- Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative, “Because of Her Story”
- Smithsonian Magazine
- National Portrait Gallery “Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence” online exhibit
- Smithsonian National Museum of American History online resources
- Library of Congress
- National Women’s History Museum
- National Women’s History Alliance
- National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites
- National Votes for Women Trail
- The 2020 Women’s Vote Centennial Initiative
- National Woman’s Party
- Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument
- Women’s Rights National Park – Seneca Falls
- Turning Point Suffragist Memorial
- History of American Women blog
- Suffrage Centennials
- Alice Paul Institute
- MassHumanities curriculum packets, Lucy Stone and Sarah Parker Remond
- The National Endowment for the Humanities hosts EDSITEment, a vast array of articles, information and programs, a goldmine of materials.
African American Suffragists, Suffrage History, and Voting Rights
- National Museum of African America History and Culture
- The Sojourner Truth Project
- Votes for Women means Votes for Black Women
- These Are the Women of Color Who Fought Both Sexism and the Racism of White Feminists
- Struggling to Connect: White and Black Feminism in the Movement Years
- African American Women Leaders in the Suffrage Movement
- 5 You Should Know: African American Suffragists
- How the Daughters and Granddaughters of Former Slaves Secured Voting Rights for All