Celebrating a Voting Victory

On August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the thirty-sixth state to ratify the 19th Amendment, reaching the threshold of state approval required to extend the vote to women across the United States. Below, National Woman’s Party co-founder Alice Paul is shown at the organization’s headquarters unfurling a completed ratification banner, which sported a star to represent each state that ratified the amendment. Fellow suffragists celebrate the moment, some with arms held up in victory.

In front of National Woman's Party headquarters, Washington, D.C. Photo by Harris & Ewing, 1920. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/hec.30267

In front of National Woman’s Party headquarters, Washington, D.C. Photo by Harris & Ewing, 1920. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/hec.30267

Each time a state ratified the amendment the National Woman’s Party would add a star to the banner — as Alice Paul is doing in the image below — making the banner itself a document of the progress of the women’s suffrage movement. One hundred years on, these images provide an opportunity to reflect on the hard work that went into advancing women’s rights at that time, and the efforts of those who in the intervening years have worked to gain all American women access to the vote.

Sewing stars on suffrage flag. Photo by National Photo Company, 1920. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/npcc.01204

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