The 19th Amendment at 100: Sharing the Story

This story is cross-posted on the websites of the Library of CongressNational Archives, and Smithsonian’s American Women’s History Initiative.

On June 4, 1919, the U.S. Congress passed a federal woman suffrage amendment and sent it to the states for ratification. It was a thrilling moment for the movement to win the women’s vote and the culmination of years of smart campaigning.

Suffragists deployed a range of creative communications tools to advocate for the cause: They staged costumed tableaux at protest marches, organized church committees, held up handmade signs in front of the White House, published their own newspapers and even walked 230 miles from New York City to Washington, D.C.

If social media had been available, these women would likely have leveraged it to organize and draw attention to the cause of women’s suffrage. (A recent tweet from the National Archives tells us that “suffrage” comes from the Latin word “suffragium,” meaning the privilege to vote.)

But while women couldn’t tweet or post on Instagram at the turn of the 20th century, we can! As we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, we invite you to learn about this history through social media. Here are three moments we don’t want you to miss while scrolling.

Ida B Wells
Before the March 3, 1913, women’s suffrage march in Washington, DC, suffragists debated whether African American participants should walk in a segregated section. Suffrage leader Ida B. Wells joined the parade and marched alongside the all-white Illinois delegation. Sallie E. Garrity (ca. 1862–1907) Albumen silver print, ca. 1893. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. Learn more in the “Votes for Women” Google Arts & Culture online exhibition.

June 4: Meet real suffrage documents on Instagram

On the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment’s passage by Congress, the National Archives will hold an Instameet and take you behind-the-scenes with Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote exhibition curator Corinne Porter.

On the morning of June 4, join in by following the hashtag #RightfullyHers on Instagram. You’ll see the original 19th Amendment; a 1910 patent drawing for a gendered “voting machine”; a 1946 affidavit from Julia Denetclaw, a Navajo Indian woman who was refused permission to register to vote; anti-suffrage material; and more.

1-19th Amendment.jpg
 Now on display at the National Archives: the resolution proposing the Nineteenth Amendment, which was ratified August 18, 1920, and grants a woman’s right to vote.

June 4: Discover women’s history stories from around the U.S. on Twitter

Explore objects, stories and resources from museums, libraries and archives across the country with the hashtag #19thAt100. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History is convening more than 50 organizations to spend the day sharing stories related to the past, present, and future of women’s suffrage, with a particular focus on women’s stories that have been overlooked. The day is part of the Smithsonian’s American Women’s History Initiative.

Protesters along a street in Chicago. See more photographs, letters, records and scrapbooks from suffragists in the new exhibition Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote at the Library of Congress.

June 20: March along with us on a social media tour

Telling the story of the largest reform movement in American history is a big job for any single exhibition, so we are bringing three exhibitions to you! Social media guides from the Smithsonian, National Archives and Library of Congress will visit our three exhibitions and share the highlights with you on Twitter and Instagram. Follow the hashtag #HerVote100 to meet the experts who worked on the exhibition and learn about the women who persisted in the fight for the vote. Don’t hesitate to ask questions. Stops on our social tour include:

Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote at the Library of Congress

Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote at the National Archives

Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery

Throughout June: Get your weekly dose of women’s history

Celebrate the passage of the 19th Amendment with 19 weeks of amazing women in history with the @USNatArchives on Instagram. Starting on June 5, the National Archives will post a theme each week featuring a woman in history. Share the story of women who inspire you by using the hashtag #19forthe19th!

The Library of Congress also is exploring the stories of individual suffragists and their contributions to changing America each week through June. Follow along with #ShallNotBeDenied on Twitter and Instagram.

Here’s where you can find us on social media:

Library of Congress

National Archives

Presidential Libraries on Twitter: @OurPresidents

National Archives Foundation


National Portrait Gallery

National Museum of African American History and Culture

National Museum of American History

June will be a big month for women’s history, but it’s a theme we’ll explore throughout the year. Other recommended hashtags to browse: #BecauseOfHerStory#HiddenHerstory, and #Suffrage100D



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