Examples of Suffrage Efforts | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Examples of Suffrage Efforts

Sep 8, 2020

 

On November 3 of 1914, voters in North Dakota had the opportunity to pass woman’s suffrage, and on this date, suffragists were actively campaigning for this change. 

 

Various club and group activities in September noted increasing activities for the suffragists. In Fargo, local suffragist Kate S. Wilder gave suffrage addresses in several WCTU districts. At a state tennis tournament held on the Island park courts there, large yellow umbrellas protecting the judges from the sun advertised, “Votes for North Dakota Women, Nov. 3, 1914.”

 

Valley City’s Votes for Women league planned for a “strenuous campaign” in the fall. Every Saturday was to be a “Woman’s Day,” through November 3. 

 

Mrs. Antoinette Funk, National Suffrage worker, campaigned in North Dakota for a week in September. 

Prominent suffragist Dr. Anna Howard Shaw also lectured around the state that month. While she was in Valley City, a street meeting was held. And in Bismarck, she appeared at the armory, where she dismissed arguments against suffrage – as well as recent accusations from anti-suffragists that she wanted to eliminate the marriage ceremony.

 

In Hope, the Equal Suffrage League continued to build—they had held their first public meeting in January 1914, at the court room of their new city hall. The place was crowded, with speakers including Mr. E. S. Shippy, whose wife would become president of the group; and Mr. E. D. Washburn. The two men “handled the various objections raised against woman suffrage without mercy.” 

 

Songs were also part of many suffrage events, with tunes such as this one:

(To the tune of Marching Through Georgia):
Votes for North Dakota women, sing it loud and clear;
Sing it ‘til the sleeping ones shall waken up and cheer.
Half a score of suffrage states are sending us a cheer,
While we are marching to victory.
Hurrah! Hurrah! We’ll bring the jubilee
Hurrah! Hurrah! We women shall be free,
So we sing the chorus while with vision free
We see Votes for N.D. Women!”

And as they campaigned for enfranchisement in 1914, suffragists might also sing a stanza or more of this song, which was composed by Dr. Max Batt of Fargo:

(To the tune of America)

O Suffrage—Liberty—
Women’s Equality—
Of these we sing.
That short may be the fight
For N. D. woman’s right, that victory be in sight,
We pray and sing.

Dakota Datebook by Sarah Walker

Sources:
Bismarck Weekly Tribune, September 15, 1911, p2; August 12, 1914, p2; April 16, 1914, p6 (lyrics)
The Hope Pioneer, January 8, 1914, p4 (lyrics); September 17, 1914, p1

Fargo Forum and Daily Republican, September 16, 1914, p7

Bismarck Daily Tribune, September 19, 1914, p1