In Honor of the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage

Graphic by Paige Sonoda

One hundred years ago Tuesday, the 19th amendment was ratified, giving women the constitutional right to vote.

Many Black Americans and other people of color were barred from voting until Congress passed the Voting Rights Act in 1965, outlawing poll taxes and other strictures of Jim Crow laws.

The centennial is particularly poignant today, as a battle continues to ensure the right to vote — and vote safely — during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We recognize two Marylanders who worked for suffrage: Frances Ellen Watkins Harper and Edith Houghton Hooker. You can read more about Harper here and more about Hooker here.

Before the 19th Amendment’s ratification, a few Maryland communities provided limited voting rights to women, but the state voted against ratification in February 1920.

When two Maryland women registered to vote, a Maryland judge sued to keep stop them from voting, claiming that the amendment did not apply to Maryland. The U.S. Supreme Court denied his challenge in February 1922 — a decision credited with securing women’s suffrage.

Read Maryland Matters for the latest on the policy debates and political battles related to the governance of the November elections.