For the 100th Anniversary of Women's Suffrage Movement 

POWER, PRIVILEGE & THE VOTE: Focus on Women, Culture & Herstories of Suffrage

              Women vote today because of the women’s suffrage movement, a courageous and persistent political campaign which lasted over 72 years, involved tens of thousands of women and men, and resulted in enfranchising one-half of the citizens of the United States. If the history of the suffrage movement was better known, we would understand that democracy for the first 150 years in America included only half of the population. And we would realize that this situation changed only after the enormous efforts of American citizens in what remains one of the most remarkable and successful nonviolent efforts to change ingrained social attitudes and institutions in the modern era. Women won the vote. They were not given it, granted it, or anything else that many textbooks claim.
              However, this triumph came at a cost. By 1870 suffrage leaders were embittered that women had not been included when African American men gained the right to vote. Subsequently, to win suffrage for themselves, they engaged in a strategy based upon racist ideologies that incited racial animosity. They were complicit in ostracizing and marginalizing African American suffragists who had worked with them on the forefront of the struggle to secure voting rights since the 1800s. 
              While the 19th Amendment legally gave all women the right to vote, the Constitution left the details of voting to individual states rather than the federal government. To discourage people of color from voting, many states began adding restrictive laws and discriminatory policies.
Native Americans and Asian Americans were disenfranchised by denial of citizenship. It wasn’t until 1962 that all states extended suffrage to Native Americans. As immigrants, Asian Americans were prohibited from becoming U.S. citizens for decades until 1952. These groups also experienced the same voter suppression challenges at the ballot box to keep them from voting.
              Finally, in 1965, the federal Voting Rights Act (VRA) prohibited any election practice that denied the right to vote on account of race and permanently removed all barriers to voting for everyone.

Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) is partnering up with the Center for Cultural Pluralism to bring Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner to UVM! To learn more about WILPF please visit their website

Please join us for the conversation about suffrage and voting as an important topic in relationship to the UVM Common Ground values and during this election year!

Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner will speak on Women’s Suffrage with a focus on 3 themes:

• Indigenous people (Haudenosaunee women) influence on the ideas of women’s suffrage & rights.
• Who was not included in the US suffrage movement (Focus on Black Women)? 
• How can the stories of the women’s suffrage provide a lens through which to explore the ongoing creation of democracy in our country?

Suffragists’ Songs performed by Linda Radtke, singer-historian, the host of the VPR Choral Hour.

Link to Resources on Suffrage and Voting 

Event Details

Date: OCTOBER 22, 2020

Time: 5:00-6:30 P.M.

Location/Format: MICROSOFT TEAMS LIVE link to the event 



This program is being supported by the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion & partially funded by the Gender, Sexuality, & Women’s Studies program at UVM, WILPF US Section, The League of Women Voters of Vermont, Vermont Suffrage Centennial Alliance, Vermont Humanities Council, Anne Slade Frey Charitable Trust, Vermont Federal Credit Union, Walter Cerf Fund of the Vermont Community Foundation, Northfield Savings Bank, St. Michael’s College, and Community Colleges of Vermont.

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner

Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner


Feminist pioneer Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner is a nationally recognized lecturer, author and story-teller of women’s rights history. One of the first women to receive a doctorate in the United States for work in women’s studies (UC Santa Cruz), and a founder of one of the country’s first college women’s studies programs, (CSU Sacramento). Dr. Wagner has taught women’s history for forty-eight years. She currently serves as adjunct faculty in the University Honors Program, Syracuse University and St. John Fisher’s Executive Leadership Program.

Wagner appeared as a “talking head” in Ken Burns’ documentary, “Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony” for which she wrote the accompanying faculty guide for PBS. She was also an historian in films including PBS’s “One Woman, One Vote” and Jak Films “The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones”. Her radio interviews include BBC and NPR’s All Things Considered” and “Democracy Now.”

The theme of Dr. Wagner’s work has been telling the untold stories. Her Women’s Suffrage Anthology, published by Penguin Classics in February 2019 and co-edited with Gloria Steinem, unfolds a new intersectional look at the 19th century woman’s rights movement. She Who Holds the Sky: Matilda Joslyn Gage (Sky Carrier Press, 2003) reveals a suffragist written out of history because of her stand against the religious right over 100 years ago while Wagner’s Sisters in Spirit: Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Influence on Early American Feminists (Native Voices, 2001) documents the surprisingly unrecognized authority of native women, which inspired the suffrage movement.

Resent Publication: Wagner, S. (2019). The Women's Suffrage Movement. Publisher: Penguin Classics.


Singer-Historian: Linda Radtke

Linda Radtke


Singer and historian Linda Radtke will open and close our programs with music which was essential to the movement: each state convention of suffragists began and ended with songs.  Linda  was a Vermont high school teacher for thirty-one years and now produces the VPR Choral Hour on Vermont Public Radio. A classically trained singer, Linda is a member of Vermont’s professional vocal ensemble, Counterpoint, the Oriana Singers, and the Arioso Chamber Ensemble. She also sings with a vocal quartet, Ah!Capella, sponsored by the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, which brings music to Vermont schools.