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The 19th Amendment at 100 Years: A Milestone of Democracy for Women’s Suffrage


Published on Dec 10, 2019


The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution will have its 100th anniversary in 2020. This landmark amendment guaranteed a woman’s right to vote.

To chronicle the fight for women’s voting rights, the History Center is curating a special exhibit, “The 19th Amendment at 100 Years: A Milestone of Democracy for Women’s Suffrage.”

In collaboration with the League of Women Voters and Harrison School for the Arts, the centennial festivities kick off with the exhibit opening at the History Center at 6 p.m., Jan. 9. The evening’s program includes a reenactment of Florida’s first congresswoman, Ruth Bryan Owen, portrayed by J. Lenora Bresler, and “The Trial of Susan B. Anthony,” performed by Harrison School for the Arts students. Encore performances of the Susan B. Anthony trial  and reenactment will take place at the History Center at 6 p.m., Jan 10 and 2 p.m., Jan. 11.

The exhibit will remain on display at the History Center through 2021, introducing visitors to some of Florida’s suffrage champions, most notably Dr. Mary Jewett from the Winter Haven community of Florence Villa. Women’s suffrage was always a passion of Jewett’s, and she would travel Florida, advocating for women’s voting rights as vice president of the Florida Federation of Women’s Clubs. Through the years, she became one of Winter Haven’s best-known and most beloved residents and organized the Woman’s Civic League, was instrumental to the founding of the Winter Haven Public Library and had a passion for education, especially for black children. Several local schools also bear her name.

Additional events hosted by members of the Polk County Suffrage Coalition include:

A Suffragette Tea at the Winter Haven Garden Center, March 14, hosted by the Daughters of the American Revolution, Ponce de Leon Chapter

A themed tea, March 28, hosted by the Davenport Historical Society

A program featuring women composers, hosted and performed by the Imperial Symphony Orchestra

A community outreach program, April 16, The Women’s Suffrage Movement in Polk County, hosted by the Kathleen Area Historical Society

More events and programs from the Polk County Suffrage Coalition will soon be announced, so stay informed on 19th Amendment happenings countywide by visiting the History Center’s webpage at www.polkhistorycenter.org. The History Center is a proud part of Polk County Government and the Polk County Board of County Commissioners.