While civic leaders are busy figuring out ways to safely execute a presidential election in November, women around the country are pausing this August to reflect on a major milestone: The centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment, the landmark law that gave women the right to vote 144 years after America declared independence. It’s important to note, too, that although Black American women fought for and earned the right to vote with the 19th Amendment, universal suffrage was not truly achieved until the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Today, we see women engaged in civic life in ways the suffragists could likely never have imagined: They’re a majority in higher education, they lead major corporations, and organize political movements. This fall, they are expected to run for office in record numbers across the country and are involved in making real systemic change. Tracy Sturdivant, president and CEO of The League, an Atlanta-based social impact collective, says, “We are working at the center of culture and politics to awaken people’s imagination around civic involvement.”
But you don’t need to start a social justice campaign or run for office to honor the women (and men) who fought for the 19th Amendment’s passage in 1920. Here are some ways you can exercise your freedoms and celebrate suffrage from the social-distanced safety of your own living room.
Online exhibits bring the suffragist movement to life through images, stories, and interactive activities. Rightfully Hers at the National Archives (where the amendment document actually lives) commemorates the milestone by taking a deep dive into American history. “Today, nearly 70 million women vote in elections because generations of suffragists refused to give up their fight for the ballot — a battle that persisted beyond 1920 for many women,” says curator Corinne Porter.