Article Contributed by
Fenton History Center
If the 2016 election season was fraught with drama, imagine the summer of 1917 when women were able to vote for the first time for the same candidates as men had been able to do for over 140 years. The upcoming exhibit at the Fenton History Center, “Why Not N.Y.? The Road to The Vote,” will premiere Wednesday, June 14 at 6 p.m. with remarks by the exhibit designer Jennifer Champ, Fenton’s Education Director, at 6:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be served. “Why Not N.Y.?” tells Jamestown’s story during the controversial time when women secured the right to vote. New Yorkers played a pivotal role in the struggle for women’s suffrage and equal rights beginning in 1848 in Seneca Falls, N.Y. through the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920. New York State Suffragettes led the country to allow women the right to vote.
Chautauqua County and Jamestown citizens, men and women, strongly supported the suffrage movement. From forming Political Equality Clubs throughout the county to advocating for the advancement of women’s rights through more forceful means, Chautauqua County citizens made their voices heard. They even voted two years earlier than the entire State to allow women equal voting rights.
The exhibit will feature the stories of local Jamestown women active in the movement and how they gained the vote. Learn about Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony visits to Jamestown while viewing period artifacts that were used during the movement. Period clothing and banners of the time will be featured. A centerpiece of the exhibit is a Political Equality Quilt from Stockton, N.Y., that has many local signatures stitched into it. Stockton had the first Political Equality Club in the county.
For more information call the Fenton History Center at 664-6256 or visit www.fentonhistorycenter.org.