This spring term, Professor of History and Gender Studies Kimberly Jensen taught a course in which her Western Oregon University students contributed content to the Oregon Women’s History Consortium (OWHC). The OWHC includes online exhibits relating to women, activism, and voting in Oregon in preparation for the commemoration of Nineteenth Amendment centenary in 2020. The students’ assignment was to conduct interviews with women about activism and voting, as well as awareness about voter discrimination and continuing efforts to empower all.
Most Oregon women achieved the vote in 1912 and the Nineteenth Amendment, ratified in 1920, placed protections for voting rights for all citizens regardless of sex in the federal constitution. In their work, the students wished to highlight the challenges and barriers to voting for some women, to emphasize the ways that women in our state have used the vote to work for social change.
- In your view, why is voting important?
- What barriers to voting have some Oregon women experienced?
- How have some women used the vote as a tool for social change?
- What additional points do you feel are important for us to consider as we commemorate the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment?
The specific interview with Natalia Fernández, curator and archivist of the Oregon Multicultural Archives and OSU Queer Archives, is here: Natalia Fernández interview and the additional interviews can be found here: OWHC Interviews
In addition, this term students in the Women in Oregon History class added content to the Oregon 2020 site with two additional research pages: Oregon Women Protest for Suffrage: National Woman’s Party Members in Oregon and in Washington, D.C., 1917-1918 and Oregon Women in the 1920 Census Born in Mexico
Be sure to take some time to experience the range of topics students have posted to the Oregon Women’s History Consortium site from the Oregon 2020 menu.
More Information about the 2020 Centennial Vote Initiative
The year 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, which gave women the right to vote in the United States. Oregon Heritage, in partnership with Oregon Women’s History Consortium, encourages organizations across Oregon to begin planning now to engage the public in the 2020 Centennial. Below are 3 key opportunities:
1) Contributing sites to the National Votes for Women Trail ~ The National Votes for Women Trail is a project of the National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites that collects sites from all over the country to tell the untold story of suffrage for all women, of all ethnicities that extends well past the passage of the 19th Amendment. All are welcome to research and contribute new sites. More information can be found here: https://ncwhs.org/votes-for-women-trail/get-involved/
2) Documenting historic sites in Oregon connected to women ~ Oregon Heritage is collecting information on places associated with women in Oregon history. These may be residences, business places, social gathering spaces, sites for suffrage and women’s rights, burial sites, campuses, and others. The information will be added to the Oregon Historic Sites Database and may be used to designate properties to the National Register of Historic Places in the future. More information can be found here: http://makeoregonhistory.org/.
3) Creating exhibits and events that share stories of local suffragettes and women’s history ~ Now is the time to start planning community activities for the 2020 Centennial. A guide for identifying women’s history in your community, programming ideas to consider, and funding opportunities can be found at www.oregonheritage.org
The goal for this program is to generate knowledge of women’s history and historic sites in Oregon, share stories of women’s suffrage and women’s history, and commemorate women in Oregon through promotions and social media.
Oregon Heritage is a division of Oregon Parks and Recreation Department that supports preservation efforts of Oregon’s history, culture, and heritage.