Traveling exhibit celebrating 100 years of women voting at Tonganoxie library through Saturday

A League of Women Voters traveling exhibit celebrating the 100th anniversary of women's voting rights with the 19th Amendment can be seen this week at Tonganoxie Public Library. The exhibit will be on display at the library through Saturday. Enlarge photo

July 29, 2020

A traveling exhibit that brings to life the history of the women’s suffrage movement in Kansas will visit towns across the state during the next 14 months in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment.

One of those stops is Tonganoxie.

The League of Women Voters of Kansas and its Centennial Celebration Committee are presenting the seven-paneled “mobile museum” with the theme “Learning from the Past,

Imagining the Future.” The exhibit currently can be found at Tonganoxie Public Library, 217 E. Fourth St.

The interactive exhibit will be at the local library until Saturday. Each of the banners in the exhibit also has a QR code for visitors to access more information on their phones.

Visitors will become acquainted with some of the historic women who led the women’s right to vote movement in the early 20th century. Beginning with Clarina Nichols in the late 1800s, women in Kansas fought for decades to ensure their inclusion in civic life.

Kansas was on the leading edge as women could vote in all elections in Kansas in 1912, eight years before the 19th Amendment extended that right to the rest of the country.

The exhibit also traces the history following 1920, including the influence of African-American and Native American women, who had an integral part in the process even as the right to vote did not include them until much later.

Illustrating the difference women’s involvement in the political process has made in the lives of all Kansans through the present day, the exhibit’s final panel issues a call to action to vote in every election.

Founded as a direct result of the women’s suffrage movement, the League of Women Voters also celebrates a birthday in 2020.

“Almost 100 years after the League’s founding, members of our nine Kansas Leagues are proud of the great progress it has made empowering voters and defending our democracy,” said Cille King, co-president of the League of Women Voters of Kansas. “The Kansas League has involved thousands of voters in electing government decision-makers for our state and local government and in holding them accountable for their actions.”

Co-president Teresa Briggs also weighed in on the exhibit.

“As we look to a vibrant future, we’re excited by the fact that our dedicated members across Kansas are increasingly being joined by significant numbers of online activists across the community and country,” Briggs said. “Together, we will continue to fight voter discrimination and ensure that our elections are fair, free and accessible.

The League’s historic commitment to register, educate and mobilize voters is not only stronger, but more effective than ever, utilizing such tools as, a cutting-edge election information website utilized by millions of voters each election cycle.”

Funded in part by a grant from the Dane G. Hansen Foundation, the Kansas Health Foundation and Humanities Kansas also provided generous donations to “Learning from the Past, Imagining the Future.” Kansas-owned businesses, universities and individuals across the state also helped make this exhibit possible.

The exhibit can be viewed during regular library hours 10 a.m.-noon and 5-7 p.m. today, Thursday and Friday and 10 a.m.-noon Saturday.

The League of Women Voters of Kansas is a nonpartisan, grassroots, volunteer political organization with nine local Leagues across the state. LWVK encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government and influences public policy through education and advocacy. The League never endorses candidates or parties.

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