Posted by: Tara Aarness | October 26, 2009

Electing Our Past

October 23, 1915 Right to Vote March

October 23, 1915 Right to Vote March

Friends and fellow citizens: I stand before you tonight under indictment for the alleged crime of having voted at the last presidential election, without having a
lawful right to vote. It shall be my work this evening to prove to you that in thus voting, I not only committed no crime, but, instead, simply exercised my citizen’s rights, guaranteed to me and all United States citizens by the National Constitution, beyond the power of any state to deny.

Susan B. Anthony, 1873

Susan B. Anthony was sentenced to jail (however only after paying a fine, which she never paid, thus escaping her jail sentence) and on August 18, 1920 women received the right to vote, just 14 years after her death.

Today, though, we subconsciously realize our societal advances, and we recognize more of what is tangible. For example, I am sitting here typing this on my laptop, just an hour prior to my bone scan; both things that were unheard of just under a hundred years ago. Technology is quite literally in our faces on a daily basis. A text message arrives and reading it, I am informed that on October 23, 1915 over 25,000 women marched in New York city, demanding the right to vote; I’m intrigued by what has helped shape our society.

Despite the chilled fall air, 40,000 women and men alike gathered in Washington Square hours prior to the parade beginning. Joining them were women from 26 countries showing their support and it was noted that every state in the union was represented, as well. Women from every walk of life stood side by side, the majority wearing white clothing, however all were unified by wearing white hats, men included. There were to be no talking or laughing during their march, as to impress upon the voters the magnitude of the issue which was to be voted on that November 2nd.

At noon, the huge procession began silently walking up to Fifth Street toward the public library on Forty Second Street where it still stands today. There a platform was erected for the mayor and other dignitaries to view women with their children, some with their dogs, pass by. Remaining strong, they march toward their destination of Fifty Ninth Street, totally fifty blocks in all, thus completing the greatest women’s suffrage march ever held in America.

November 2, 1915 votes were cast and the result was women were still not allowed the right to vote, despite being citizens. For another five years, women persevered, often enduring cruelty, by women and men alike, for their beliefs of equality and bettering society.

94 years later, women have the right to vote and are widely considered equals. As politicians grasp at straws, desperate to obtain just one more vote to elect them into whatever office they’re fighting for, I’ll proudly cast my vote, remembering another fight that was of greater importance, and just as hard won.

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