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W.Va. Women’s Commission Celebration of Women’s right to vote, ratification of 19th Amendment to fill Capitol rotundas on Monday, Feb. 17

West Virginia’s year-long celebration of 19th Amendment outlined

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia State Capitol on Monday will feature displays from the ​​W.Va. Women’s Commission Celebration of Women​ gaining the​ right to vote and ratification of the 19th Amendment.​

​More than 40 organizations ​are expected to fill the rotunda​s​ to provide educational information related to women’s suffrage. There will be displays in the upper House and upper Senate rotundas.

A special ceremony celebrating this moment in state history will begin promptly at 4 p.m. on Monday in the chamber of the House of Delegates. Secretary of State Mac Warner will be joined by keynote speaker U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito and other state leaders to formally commemorate the state’s ratification. Senator Capito is the highest-ranking female elected official in West Virginia history.

Mary E. Johnson, Historian with the WV Division of Culture & History, will give a presentation on the unique circumstances surrounding West Virginia’s ratification of the amendment in 1920.

Senate President Mitch Carmichael, Speaker of the House Roger Hanshaw and members of the legislature have also been invited to attend. Coordinating Committee Co-Chairs Melody Potter (State Republican Party Chairman) and Belinda Biafore (State Democratic Party Chairman) will be present for the ceremony.

The ceremony in the House chamber will last about 45 minutes and is open to the public. A reception will take place after the ceremony from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Culture Center, where current female members of the legislature will be recognized.

At 10:30 a.m., Lida Shepherd will portray Susan B. Anthony in a speech given during Anthony’s 1872 trial for voting in a presidential election. At 12:30 p.m., a West Virginia Suffragist Experience presentation will be given by Renate Pore in room 460M (House Finance).

Media from across West Virginia heard an update on West Virginia’s Centennial Celebration of the 19th Amendment during the recent West Virginia Press Association’s Legislative Breakfast at the Culture Center in Charleston..

The year-long celebration of women’s suffrage is being headed by the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office. West Virginia Press Association, the state’s newspapers, and numerous other groups are partnering in the project.

West Virginia became the 34th state to ratify the 19th Amendment, which guaranteed women the right to vote, on March 10, 1920. The Amendment was certified in August 1920.

Betsy DeBord, assistant executive director of the WV Press Association, told media that the August date will be celebrated with a 19th Amendment Gala during the West Virginia Press Association’s Annual Convention Aug. 7-8 in Charleston.

Jennifer Gardner, assistant communications director of the W.Va. Secretary of State’s Office, gave an update on the other activities and events coming up as part of the celebration.

Betsy DeBord, assistant executive director of the WV Press Association, and Jennifer Gardner, assistant communications director of the W.Va. Secretary of State’s Office, provide an update on the state’s celebration of the 19th Amendment.

On Monday, Feb. 17, more than 30 organizations will be setup in the rotunda to provide educational information related to Women’s Suffrage. There will be displays in the upper House and upper Senate rotundas.

Over the last six months, Secretary Warner’s Office has worked with community, civic, educational and political party leaders throughout the state to coordinate and promote a series of local events to celebrate the passage of the 19th Amendment. The Coordinating Committee for the “WV Centennial Celebration of the 19th Amendment” consists of more than 40 individuals (View the list here). State Republican Party Chairwoman Melody Potter and State Democratic Party Chairwoman Belinda Biafore serve as honorary co-chairs of the Committee.

For more information on the WV Centennial Celebration of the 19th Amendment, including a growing list of events planned throughout the state, visit the WVSOS website and commemoration page on Facebook.

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