A Herald-Dispatch Report
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — More than 50 vehicles carrying “suffragettes” and supporters of the 19th Amendment took to the streets of Huntington on Wednesday to celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote in the United States.
Vehicles were decorated for “Women’s Suffrage Centennial Celebration: Driving for Democracy,” sponsored by Marshall University, in partnership with the League of Women Voters of the Huntington Area and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, and some participants showed up on the steamy August day in period attire.
The motorcade began at the St. Mary’s Center for Education parking lot, and participants were urged to stay in their vehicles.
After a “Toast to Tenacity,” the motorcade headed north on 29th Street, then west on 3rd Avenue, south on 7th Street, east on 5th Avenue, north on 8th Street and east on 4th Avenue. From there, traffic was directed north on Hal Greer Boulevard to the Marshall parking lot on the northeast corner of 3rd Avenue and Hal Greer Boulevard.
In June 1919, the U.S. Congress finally passed the 19th Amendment after decades of arguments for and against women’s suffrage. Once approved, at least 36 states needed to vote in favor of the amendment for it to become law.
In February 1920, the West Virginia Legislature met in special session and was lobbied heavily by the state’s suffragists, led by Marion County native Lenna Lowe Yost. On March 3, the House of Delegates voted for the amendment.
In a 15-14 vote on March 10, the state Senate made West Virginia the 34th of the 36 states needed to ratify the amendment, according to information from the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office. That summer, Yost became the first woman to chair a major party convention at the Republican National Convention, which nominated Warren G. Harding for president.m…