Break out your 1900’s period costumes for an event reflecting on the 1920 fight for women’s right to vote and the founding of a group dedicated to that cause, the League of Women Voters, for a 100th anniversary event at the Ross Ragland Theater on Sunday Feb. 9.
Feb. 9 being the 100th anniversary of the group’s founding followed by the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment granting women the right to vote, the League of Women Voters of Klamath County invites people to the Ragland to reflect on “the Great Fight to Win the Vote for Women” that was just a short century ago.
Doors open to the theater at 1:15 p.m. with voter registration tables and cookbook and t-shirt sales in the lobby before the program begins at 2 p.m. with speakers from around the community, including Klamath Community College President Roberto Gutierrez, Klamath County Commissioner Kelley Minty Morris, Klamath Falls Mayor Carol Westfall and Klamath County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Heather Tramp.
The Linkville Players will also take the stage to perform a skit, called “By Faith and Daring,” reenacting the conditions of the picket lines in 1920 for women’s right to vote, from being spat on, to assaulted, to arrested. Skit director Sally Palcovich dug through her closet to find clothes from the period that have stayed in her family and were worn by her grandmother who was a suffragette in New York City.
“It’s pretty graphic,” League Treasurer Leslie Lowe said of the skit. “Because we really want people to understand the fight that people had—not just women—men also.”
The event also features three films, including “The Suffragists” by Oregon Public Broadcasting, which is 28 minutes long, “Suppressed: The Fight to Vote” by Brave New Films of California and, the LWV also hopes, a movie Tramp made in 7th grade about Susan B. Anthony.
Klamath is highlighted in the OPB movie, Lowe said, as four women in particular stepped up to be forces of change in the state.
“They’re given credit for helping to make the difference to get the right to vote for women in Oregon,” Lowe said. “Klamath was on the map.”
“Klamath has a history of speaking up for what’s right,” Palcovich said.
Lowe teased the OPB film and the League’s cookbook which will be available for purchase at the event for those interested in Klamath’s history with Oregon women’s right to vote. The League assembled its cookbook from recipes submitted by locals and includes photos and information about the area’s history with suffragists. The Klamath County Museum also has information on Klamath’s story.
Lowe also noted the irony of men having to vote to give women the right to vote.
“Men had to vote for women to get it,” Lowe said.
There will also be a 100th anniversary cake at the Ragland event. The LWV is encouraging attendees to wear period costumes from the era of 1900 to 1920. The group is requesting a $10 donation at the door for those who attend.
Lowe said several teachers in the area have committed to giving students who attend extra credit if they fill out a questionnaire about facts showcased at the event.
The League of Women Voters is a national nonpartisan voter advocacy group that provides information on issues facing voters. On August 16, the group will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment at the Baldwin Museum. LWV of Klamath County also plans to plant a tree in April in honor of LWV founder Nina Pence.