By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY – On Wednesday, August 26 the National Women’s History Museum will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment with a full day of virtual programming and the launch of its new non-partisan voter engagement initiative, Women Vote, Women Win.
Founded in 1996, the National Women’s History Museum is the nation’s only women’s history museum and the most recognized institution dedicated to celebrating women’s contributions to society.
Programming will include two virtual “Determined to Rise”: Women’s Historical Activism for Equal Rights panel discussion events, both addressing topics related to the woman suffrage campaign.
The day-long program will also include screenings of three short films: Finding Justice, a film about the 2,000-lb.bronze replica of the Liberty Bell that suffragists used as a call to action in their fight for the vote; and two films about suffragist and women’s rights advocate Inez Milholland.
Starting at 10 a.m. (CST), a screening of “Determined to Rise: Woman Suffrage: The West Came First” will be presented in collaboration with the Michigan History Center and Michigan Women Forward (Lansing, MI).
Moderated by historian and curator, Valerie Marvin, panelists will include Dr. Lori Ann Lahlum, Professor, Minnesota State University, Mankato; Dr. Virginia Caruso, Historian and Member of the Board of Trustees, Historical Society of Michigan; and Dr. Molly Rozum, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, The University of South Dakota.
At 1 p.m., Finding Justice: The Untold Story of Women’s Fight for the Vote will be shown, followed by a chat with filmmaker Amanda Owen.
At 3 p.m. “Determined to Rise” Chicago’s African American Women in the Fight for the Vote” will be presented in partnership with the Newberry Library (Chicago, IL). The film discusses how the position of Black women within the women’s rights movement involved far more complex issues of sexism, racism, and class bias.
Moderated by Dr. Liesel Olson, Director of Chicago Studies, Newberry Library; event panelists include: Dr. Wanda Hendricks, Distinguished Professor Emerita of History, College of Arts and Sciences, University of South Carolina; Dr. Kenvi Philips, Curator for Race and Ethnicity, Schlesinger Library of the Harvard Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study; and Dr. Tikia K. Hamilton, Founder, Triple Ivy Writing and Education Solutions, Inc.
That evening, at 6 p.m., there will be a free virtual preview screening of two short films about suffragist Inez Milholland: Inez Milholland – Forward Into Light and Into Light.
Both films will be followed by a panel discussion with actress Amy Walker, producer Martine Melloul, and Forward Into Light filmmaker and advisor Martha Wheelock.
Inez Milholland – Forward Into Light will introduce viewers to Milholland, the woman who rode the white horse as Joan of Arc on March 3, 1913. This film will be followed by Into Light, which takes place in Blanchard Hall in Los Angeles on October 23, 1916, as Milholland addresses 1,500 cheering and curious attendees.
The day will culminate with Women Take the Stage, a free, multi-ethnic virtual concert and rally to increase votes by and for women before the November election.
At 7 p.m., the National Women’s History Museum finale speakers will include: Gloria Steinem, Dolores Huerta, Alicia Garza, Vanessa Williams, Idina Menzel, Lily Tomlin, Billie Jean King, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Indigo Girls, BETTY, Dance Brigade, Pura Fé, DGLS, B-52s’ Kate Pierson, poet Staceyann Chin, founder of The Representation Project Jennifer Siebel Newsom, HBCU president Ruth Simmons, Time’s Up CEO Tina Tchen, ERA Coalition CEO Carol Jenkins, National LGBTQ Task Force’s Kierra Johnson, disability activist Mia Ives-Rublee, transgender politician Andrea Jenkins, and New York’s Attorney General, Letitia James.
In addition to the August 26 programming, the National Women’s History Museum will launch Women Vote, Women Win, a non-partisan initiative designed to honor the legacy of the suffragists and all of the women since who have worked to secure voting rights for women.
Running through the end of 2020, the initiative will explore the historical context of the 19th Amendment and the critical work that continued after its passage to ensure all women had the right to vote.
“As a Charter member of the National Women’s History Museum, I strongly support the establishment of a permanent home for the national museum,” said Jeannette Mance Sharpe.
“During my career of 34 years as a public high school teacher, I recognized the importance of being a role model for my students as they were on their life’s journey,” Sharpe added. “It is my hope that they attained their goals and recognize the important contributions which women have made over the past decades.
“This is a special year, as we celebrate the Centennial Anniversary of US Woman Suffrage,” Sharpe said. “The day has finally arrived to present their courageous efforts in a comprehensive and permanent world-class museum in our nation’s capital. Congratulations to all who are making this possible.”
For more information, visit womenshistory.org.