LIMA — To commemorate the ratification of the 19th amendment 100 years ago and the women who fought it, a number of organizations throughout the region are planning celebrations to highlight the 72-year struggle undertaken to expand women’s voting rights.
Women’s Suffrage Centennial:
Motorists driving by Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Medical Center next Wednesday will be able to watch one of the first of the these events when the hospital is lit with purple lights on Aug. 26 — the day the 19th amendment was officially ratified in 1920.
“Our organization is built on the core values of human dignity and integrity,” said Beth Keehn, director of government and community affairs at Mercy Health. “These were the beliefs of the strong and courageous women who built St. Rita’s 102 years ago — the Sisters of Mercy. So it is with great honor that we help celebrate 100 years of women having a voice and participating in the leadership of our democracy.”
The event will include a short program starting at 8:30 p.m. before the official lighting begins at 9 p.m. It is being organized by the City of Lima, Mercy Health, the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Sigma Mu Omega chapter, the Women’s Leadership Collective and the League of Women Voters of the Lima Area.
Those interested in the event are being encouraged to watch it live online via Facebook on the GTV-Lima Facebook Page.
“We’re going to have a live streaming event to promote people’s historical thought process when it comes to the hundred years so people are thinking about it and to make sure that they know just how important that struggle was,” Lima Neighborhood Specialist Autumn Swanson said.
Swanson said the building will be lit purple in the weeks following the official Aug. 26 kickoff so those interested can see the change throughout the next month.
Organizers are also encouraging others in the community to join the #ForwardIntoLight campaign by lighting their own buildings. To be included in the campaign, individuals can contact Swanson via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and include the subject line “Forward into Light”.
In addition to the #ForwardIntoLight campaign, the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission is also organizing two other events celebrating women’s suffrage.
• ArtSpace Lima’s traveling suffrage exhibit: From Sept. 1 to 15, ArtSpace Lima, 65 Town Square, will be hosting the American Bar Association’s Traveling Suffrage Exhibit, “100 Years after the 19th Amendment: Their Legacy, and Our Future.” The display will be available Sept. 1 to 4, Sept. 8 to 11 and on Sept. 15, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Saturdays between the 4th and 11th, the display will also be available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Small group tours will be arranged by appointment only. Those interested in touring the exhibit are asked to call 419-222-1721 to make an appointment for a small group tour.
• National Votes for Women Trail Site Dedication: Thanks to a donation from The William G. Pomeroy Foundation, a marker erected in honor of Bessie Crayton, president of the Political Equality Club, will be revealed at 50 Town Square during a ceremony on Oct. 21 at 10:30 a.m.
On Oct. 20, 1914, Crayton led a march featuring 1,500 women, children and a few men up Main Street in Lima in support of women’s suffrage.
Lima Public Library
Library organizers have also put together a few historical events to commemorate the centennial celebration.
“Our main impetus is the centennial. It’s a pretty big celebration, and the timing kind of just worked out this way. The Women of Character event had been planned as a live event in March, but with the shutdown, we had to push it back,” Dani Hollar, head of reference services, said.
Scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 22, at 2 p.m., the event features two historians acting as Sojourner Truth and Elizabeth Cady Stanton streaming over an online meeting, where attendees can ask questions about each historical figure’s lives directly to those portraying the two women who were both heavily involved in the women’s suffragist movement.
Hollar said the library had hosted a similar event with an actor portraying American Author Zora Neale Hurston. After receiving positive feedback, the library planned the”Women of Character” event featuring the same company of historical performers.
Details on how to join the online event can be found at https://www.limalibrary.com/content/women-character.
• The library will also be featuring a second related event, Rebels in Corsets, on Aug. 29 at 3 and 4 p.m.
During the online event, Prof. Susan Trollinger, of the University of Dayton, will provide a look into the women’s suffrage movement that spurred increased political activism from women and led to the 19th amendment’s ratification.
Details can be found at https://www.limalibrary.com/content/rebels-corsets.
Auglaize County Historical Society
Highlighting local women and their achievements, the Auglaize County Historical Society has set up an exhibit in the lawn adjacent to the Willipie Street side of the Auglaize County courthouse featuring more than a dozen women who played a major role in Auglaize County’s history.
“The panels were originally designed as part of our contribution to the fair. When displaying them there was no longer possible, we revisited our plans,” Historical Society Administrator Rachel Barber said. “We’re very grateful to the Auglaize County Commissioners for allowing us to celebrate the Centennial of Women’s Suffrage in this manner.”
Some of the women included in exhibit include Pina Ihle, an accomplished German midwife, Augusta Grothaus Conradi, the first woman to teach in Auglaize County who eventually became the wife of the president of Florida State University, and Katie Horstman, a baseball pitcher who played in the American Girls Professional Baseball League.
Barber said the exhibit will be displayed through Aug. 31. After the end of the month, the historical society plans to tour the Women’s Story Walk exhibit with some of the local schools and other institutions. A booklet highlighting historical achievements by local women is also being developed.
“Although the persons highlighted in this display represent a small fraction of Auglaize County’s accomplished women, they help us begin to tell the story of women in our county and in west-central Ohio,” Barber said.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.