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Commemorating Women's Suffrage In Nevada

Black and white photo of three people posing in front of a car. There is a banner that reads: Votes for Women
Courtesy of the Special Collections Department, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries.
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Suffragists, Anne Martin and Mabel Vernon, pose in front of a 1913 Overland automobile in the Nevada desert during the women's suffrage campaign in 1914.

While you’re driving down the road in Nevada, you will soon see a new set of historical markers to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the women’s suffrage movement. KUNR’s Lucia Starbuck has the story.

In 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment passed, granting most women in the United States the right to vote. Despite this federal action, voting measures were left up to the states. Some still suppressed voters, including African American, Asian and Native American women. Additionally, women who married immigrants could lose their right to vote even if they were citizens themselves.

A sign that says, "VOTES FOR WOMEN Delphine Squires and Mesquite Club Sponsored Suffrage Speakers 1912-1914. Club Met at Las Vegas School on This Site Until 1915."
Credit Joanne Goodwin
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This Las Vegas marker is one of five to be installed statewide with the coordination of the National Collaborative of Women's History Sites and the Pomeroy Foundation.

Now, to honor the suffrage movement, the National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites (NCWHS), partnered with the William G. Pomeroy Foundation to install markers across the U.S. 

“Women had roles in society, women were active before yesterday," said Joanne Goodwin, a board member for NCWHS and a professor of history at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. "They played a part in forming their communities, [and] eventually, when they won these rights, in governing their communities,” Goodwin said.

Goodwin says it’s important to bring markers to Nevada because the state granted women suffrage six years before the Nineteenth Amendment was passed.

“When women got the right to vote, they turned their suffrage organization into voter education groups and organizations, so, in Nevada, they would become the League of Women Voters, [which is] nonpartisan and focused entirely on educating their members and the general public about issues and about candidates,” Goodwin said.

The first marker was recently installed in Tonopah. In 2020, Nevadans can see other markers in Reno, Carson City, Las Vegas and Battle Mountain--the site of the first convention in Nevada to organize for women’s suffrage in 1870.

Lucia Starbuck is an award-winning journalist covering politics, focusing on democracy and solutions for KUNR Public Radio. Her goal is to provide helpful and informative coverage for everyday Nevadans.
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