Women’s Equality Day: The fight continues – Times-Georgian: Southern Spice

25
Aug

Women’s Equality Day: The fight continues – Times-Georgian: Southern Spice

When the 19th Amendment was certified in 1920, giving women across the U.S. the right to vote, Georgia was not among the 36 states which had ratified it. In fact, it took 51 years — February 1970 — for state lawmakers to finally do so.

Tomorrow, Aug. 26, is Women’s Equality Day, which commemorates that day 93 years ago when the amendment was certified by the rest of the nation, making all women — not just those in a few progressive states — full participants in the national privilege of selecting government leaders, approving referenda, choosing school boards and all the other minutiae of a democracy.

Georgia might not have approved this key right for women the first go-round, but it did send the nation’s first woman to the U.S. Senate — for all of 24 hours.

The full story of that short senatorial term will be told tomorrow night, when Louise Staman, author of a new book on Rebecca Latimer Felton, will speak at Neva Lomason Memorial Library as part of the League of Women Voters of Carrollton-Carroll County’s Summer Writers Series. The book is called “Loosening Corsets: The Heroic Life of Georgia’s Feisty Mrs. Felton, First Woman Senator of the United States,” and the presentation begins at 7 p.m.

Briefly told, Felton was appointed to the post by Georgia’s governor when Sen. Thomas Watson died suddenly in 1922. But the governor, Thomas Hardwick, never intended for her to be sworn in. That’s because the Senate had adjourned until after that fall’s general election, and Hardwick intended to win the seat himself, then be sworn in when the Senate reconvened. But he lost the election — and the winner delayed taking office for one day, just so Felton could be officially inaugurated at the nation’s first woman senator.

This convoluted advance for women’s rights in Georgia is familiar to longtime women’s rights champion Nellie Duke, who remains concerned about the state of women’s rights on this eve of Women’s Equality Day.

via Women’s Equality Day: The fight continues – Times-Georgian: Southern Spice.

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