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Welcome Remarks for 100th Anniversary of Women Winning the Vote: Reflections on the 2020 Centennial

October 22, 2020

Hello! I’m Debra Steidel Wall, Deputy Archivist of the United States and I’m delighted to welcome you to today’s panel discussion on “The 100th Anniversary of Women Winning the Vote: Reflections on the 2020 Centennial.”

We are presenting this program in partnership with the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission, with support from the 2020 Women’s Vote Centennial Initiative.

Since its beginning, the commission has overseen celebrations and commemorations around the country. Today’s discussion is the final installment in its series of programs and celebrations.

I’ve been honored to serve as a commissioner for the last two years. During that time, the WSSC promoted the centennial observance with a tremendous assortment of programs and events, and our celebration culminated this past August on the actual 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Though this year’s public health crisis meant that our commemoration had to pivot to largely online outlets, we succeeded in raising awareness of this important landmark in voting rights.

As home of the actual 19th Amendment, the National Archives was especially proud to share and raise awareness of records relating to suffrage. We’ve presented numerous programs and exhibitions, including the Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote, exhibition, Rightfully Hers pop-up displays, and many discussions and film screenings.

Our exhibition, Rightfully Hers, opened in March 2019 in the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, and tells the story of women’s struggle for voting rights as a critical step toward equal citizenship. Although the physical exhibit was forced to close early in March 2020, its online version is available on Archives.gov, enabling people everywhere to explore how American women across the spectrum of race, ethnicity, and class advanced the cause of suffrage before ratification of the 19th Amendment and beyond 1920.

Now let’s begin our discussion of the centennial commemoration.

Please join me in welcoming Senator Barbara Mikulski; Kay Coles James, President of the Heritage Foundation; Colleen Shogan, Senior Vice President, White House Historical Association; and Susan Combs, former Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior.