Learn About Women Who Changed the World - Carolina Country

Learn About Women Who Changed the World

Traveling exhibit commemorates the women’s suffrage movement

By Renee Gannon | Photos courtesy of the State Archives of North Carolina

Learn About Women Who Changed the World

North Carolina suffragists

Women in North Carolina have long been politically active. The first occurrence on record dates back to 1774, when a group of 51 women gathered at the home of Penelope Barker for the Edenton Tea Party, sending a scathing letter to King George III of England announcing a boycott of East Indian tea as long as it is taxed by the British.

States’ Rights Defense League office

The N.C. Equal Suffrage Association headquarters in Raleigh (foreground). The States’ Rights Defense League office (background) opposed the amendment based on belief it infringed on states’ rights.

For almost 150 years following that historic tea boycott, women sought representation, here in North Carolina and across the United States. According to an NC history timeline, those acts of courage, persistence, resistance, and some say defiance, finally came to fruition with the meeting of the Equal Suffrage League of North Carolina in 1914. But it took five more years for the Women’s Suffrage Amendment to make its way through Congress in 1919, then out to the states for ratification. On August 26, 1920, the Women’s Right to Vote officially became the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Today, more than 66 million women cast votes in elections across the country, including almost 3.6 million in North Carolina alone.

To celebrate and educate the 100th anniversary of this momentous occasion, the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (ncdcr.gov) and State Archives of North Carolina (archives.ncdcr.gov) created a 15-month-long traveling exhibit featuring 10 archival documents and other items related to women’s suffrage. Artifacts include both pro- and anti-suffrage propaganda, political cartoons, a suffragist’s sash and the original copy of the 19th Amendment sent to North Carolina for ratification.

The traveling exhibit, which will run through Spring 2021, is part of a larger She Changed the World education initiative throughout the state. Exhibit stops have been planned through December 2020. Visit ncdcr.gov for an updated schedule.

suffrage exhibit

Sarah E. Koonts, director of the NC Division of Archives and Records, talks to schoolchildren about the exhibit.

Find the traveling exhibit near you

February 29, 2020
10 a.m.–3 p.m.
Morganton Public Library
204 South King St.

March 6, 2020
1–5 p.m.
Alamance Community College
Main Building
1247 Jimmie Kerr Rd.

April 3, 2020
9 a.m.–6 p.m.
Meredith College
Carlyle Campbell Library
3800 Hillsborough St.

April 18, 2020
10 a.m.–3 p.m.
Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum
Kimbrall Hall
6136 Burlington Rd.

May 16, 2020
9:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
Edgecombe County Memorial Library
909 North Main St.

June 6, 2020
10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Pack Memorial Library
67 Haywood St.

July 25, 2020
10 a.m.–3 p.m.
Bennett College
Building TBD
900 East Washington St.

August 22, 2020
9 a.m.–2 p.m.
Scotland County Memorial Library
312 West Church St.

September 26, 2020
9:30 a.m.–1 p.m.
Gunn Memorial Public Library
161 Main Street East

Elizabeth City
October 1, 2020
9 a.m.–2 p.m.
Museum of
the Albemarle
501 South Water St.

November 17, 2020
Time TBD
Iredell County
Public Library
201 North Tradd St.

December, 2020
Time TBD
Farmville Community Arts Council 

Visit ncdcr.gov for an updated schedule.

About the Author

Renee C. Gannon is the senior associate editor of Carolina Country.

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