It’s an important year to express and celebrate the right to vote, and communities and organizations across the United States are gearing up to commemorate the 100th birthday of the 19th Amendment and celebrate a century of women’s voting rights.
The University of Central Arkansas Department of History will host a public lecture by award-winning historian and author Lisa Tetrault from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6 in the UCA College of Business Auditorium. An associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University and a leading scholar of the U.S. suffrage movement, Tetrault will discuss “When Women Won the Right to Vote: A History Unfinished” and the question of whether the passage of the 19th Amendment truly guaranteed women the right to vote.
“Contrary to popular assumption, the right to vote does not exist in the U.S. Constitution or U.S. law,” Tetrault says. “So when women won passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920, they did not win the right to vote, despite repeated claims that they did. Just what did the woman suffrage amendment do, then? Clarifying this history, this talk positions 1920 as the middle of a much larger story about the pursuit of voting rights, a struggle that is today unfinished and ongoing.”
Following the lecture, Tetrault will host a Q&A session. Before and after the talk, volunteers from Vote Everywhere will provide on-site voter registration, according to a press release.
“The long push for women’s suffrage is as much about defining the rights of citizenship as it is about voting,” says Wendy Lucas, chair of the Department of History at UCA. “Taken in that light, the history of what led to the amendment and what the amendment meant in practice is as relevant today as it was a century ago.”
The event is presented by the UCA Department of History, in partnership with the UCA Gender Studies Program, Phi Alpha Theta Honors Society and the Faulkner County Coalition for Social Justice. More information about UCA’s Department of History is available online at uca.edu/history/. The event is free and open to the public.
About the Speaker:
Lisa Tetrault is associate professor of history at Carnegie Mellon and specializes in the history of U.S. women and gender, the history of social movements, particularly feminism, and the politics of memory. She received her Doctor of Philosophy in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her first book, “The Myth of Seneca Falls: Memory and the Women’s Suffrage Movement, 1848-1898,” won the Organization of American Historians’ inaugural Mary Jurich Nickliss women’s history book prize. For more information on Tetrault’s teaching, scholarship, awards, publications and public history outreach, visit cmu.edu/dietrich/history/