JAMESTOWN – Another historical marker has been erected in Jamestown.
On Friday afternoon, The Jamestown Historical Marker Committee dedicated the City’s 67th historical marker next to the Lucille Ball Little Theatre building at 18 East Second Street.
The latest marker honors the Chautauqua County Political Equality Club. The organization promoted women’s right to vote during the suffrage movement, marking the 125th anniversary of its organization.
The late 1800s marked a surge in the efforts to secure the right to vote for women. Since the inception of the United States and its Constitution, women were considered citizens and were required to pay taxes. However, they had no vote in the government to which they paid those taxes and no voice in any of the laws enacted that they were expected to honor.
Efforts to secure the right to vote began in June 1848 at the celebrated Seneca Falls, NY, Convention. By the 1880s, efforts were in full swing throughout the country. Small groups sprang up in many small local communities, including in all of Chautauqua County.
On October 31, 1888, the Jamestown group hosted a meeting of all the various County groups at Allen’s Opera House (now Little Theatre). They decided to organize as a county organization, which was a first in New York State. With over 1,000 members by 1891, it was the largest county suffrage organization in the United States.
Women were finally formally granted the right to vote on August 26, 1920, through the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. Congress had passed the Amendment in June 1919, but the required state ratifications were not reached until the following August. In November, women voted for the President of the United States for the first time in the country’s 144-year history.
Committee members assisting in securing funding and getting the marker posted were City Historian B. Deloris Thompson, Clair Carlson, Traci Langworthy, Karen Livsey, and Arthur Osterdahl.