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WC to celebrate 100 years of voting rights for women

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Westminster celebrates women’s right to vote

Westminster College 1921 Girls' Debate Club. From The Argo.

Westminster College will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment that recognized women’s right to vote this Wednesday, Aug. 26. President Richardson reminded the campus body of this event through an email.

“As we work and learn at an institution founded on the principle of the equality of all people, let’s join together to celebrate this historic anniversary,” Richardson said in her email to campus.

Westminster was one of the few colleges in the country open to women and people of color ever since its founding in 1852. Debate clubs on campus addressed women’s suffrage in the decades leading up to the ratification of the 19th Amendment, according to old Holcad archives.

The 19th Amendment was passed on June 4, 1919. The amendment was supposed to guarantee all American women the right to vote, but many black women still could not vote until the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Poll taxes and literacy tests turned away many possible black voters in the United States until the 1965 Voting Rights Act outlawed discriminatory voting practices.

Richardson encouraged students and employees to wear white, purple or gold on Aug. 26 to celebrate the event. The National Women’s Party in the 1910s used these three colors to represent their fight for voting equality.

“Purple is the color of loyalty, constancy to purpose, unswerving steadfastness to a cause. White, the emblem of purity, symbolizes the quality of our purpose; and gold, the color of light and life, is as the torch that guides our purpose, pure and unswerving,” the group said in a newsletter in 1913.

The film "Iron Jawed Angels" will play on the Quad on Westminster’s campus to help celebrate the event. The film tells the story of the campaign to win the vote and the sacrifices made along the way.

Richardson will give opening remarks at 7:45 pm. The audience size for the film is limited to 250 people. Audience members are asked to bring chairs and blankets, to social distance and wear masks throughout the film.

In case of rain on Aug. 26, the film will instead play on Monday, Aug. 31 at 9 pm in the Amphitheater. The audience capacity in the Amphitheater is 100.

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