Four Articles, One Song and A Tweet For The Anniversary Of The 19th Amendment And Women’s Suffrage

August 26, 2019

You may have heard about the 19th Amendment. It's the one that gave women the right to vote.

And it was signed into law on this day, August 26th, in 1920 (the year 2020 will mark the 100th anniversary of the Amendment's passage).

Colorado was one of the first states to allow women to vote -- a referendum granted that right in 1893. And today, Aug. 26, 2019, Colorado is kicking off a year-long celebration of the 19th Amendment.

While you may be familiar with the 19th Amendment thanks to your sixth grade Social Studies class, you might have missed a few pieces of information along the way.

So here's a quick refresher -- in the form of four articles, a song (by Dolly Parton!) and a tweet.

Washington D.C. could get a women’s suffrage monument created by a Colorado artist.

Courtesy Jane DeDecker
A studio version of Jane DeDecker's work "Every Word We Utter."

In December 2018, CPR News reporter Stephanie Wolf reported that members of Colorado's congressional delegation are backing the efforts of a Loveland artist to install a new monument called in Washington D.C.

The "Every Word We Utter" sculpture features women’s rights activists Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, Alice Paul and Ida B. Wells, along with the names of other key women in the fight for women’s suffrage.

Loveland sculptor Jane DeDecker said she wanted to honor the many generations of activists “to speak to the 70 years it took” to get the 19th Amendment ratified and the artwork will highlight “that women have their place in legislative duties.”

The status of that monument? Colorado's congressional delegation is still working on it.

Six months later, the bill to install the sculpture had hearings in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Caitlyn Kim reports the entire Colorado delegation supports the bill, from Boulder Democratic Rep. Joe Neguse in the House, to Republican Sen. Cory Gardner in the Senate.

“The fact that there is no monument in Washington, D.C., no outdoor monument, to the suffragette movement, to me is something we felt like needs to be addressed,” Neguse said.

While the bill still faces hurdles, lawmakers are hoping to cross the finish line by the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment -- August 2020.

Colorado’s history of women in politics marked another milestone in 2019: a House majority.

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
The five newly elected women, all Democrats, who helped their party regain control of the Senate. From left: Jessie Danielson holding daughter Isabelle Beth Kabza, Kerry Donovan,  Brittany Pettersen, Tammy Story and Faith Winter.

In 1894, Colorado elected the nation's first female state lawmakers -- three Republican women.

In January 2019, CPR News reporter Bente Birkeland wrote that the state became one of only two legislative chambers in the country where female lawmakers hold a majority.

A total of 286 women have served in the General Assembly in contrast to 3,081 men, going all the way back to when Colorado was a territory, according to figures from the Legislative Council. 

But how is the rest of the country doing when it comes to women in legislative leadership? Where do women have the most and least political representation in the U.S.?

This map helps to break that down (and this analysis from Public Affairs editor Megan Verlee doesn't hurt either).

OK, this isn't an article. But Dolly Parton wrote a song about the 19th Amendment.

Here it is: Dolly Parton’s song about the 19th amendment and women’s suffrage.

Season 3 of WNYC's podcast More Perfect is all about the 27 amendments the American people have made to our Constitution (WYNC even made an entire album of original music and art inspired by the 27 amendments).

Episode 4 of that podcast happens to feature a song -- by Dolly Parton -- about the 19th amendment, and women finally getting the right to vote.

I'll just leave some of the lyrics here:

They said a woman's place

Was staying in her hut.

Washin', cookin', cleanin',

Wipin' baby's butts.

They said she'd never see the day

We'd equal up to them.

But here we are, we've come so far,

I guess we sure showed them.

Looking for a dense book to read about women's suffrage in the West?

According to CPR News editor Megan Verlee (@CPRVerlee), "How The Vote Was Won" by Rebecca Mead gives you the nitty-gritty of the subject.

It may not be the pop history treatment, but it's got some colorful anecdotes to boot:

What else should we include on this list? Tweet your suggestion to @CPRNews and we just may add it.

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