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Mid-Winter Suffragettes

2/6/2017:

On this date in 1914, citizens of Devils Lake were eagerly looking forward to the Mid-Winter Fair to be held the following week. The Devils Lake Weekly World announced that the arrangements for the fair were complete, with the Fair Committee promising a greater number of exhibits than ever before. Several talks were scheduled, including Developing the Live Stock Industry in the Lake Region, The Country Church as a Social Center, Modern Conveniences in the Country Home, and Evil Effects and the Ways to Avoid Them. Immigration was a major topic with several programs scheduled to discuss it. Classes in dairying and hog raising were available, along with judging of grains, grasses, corn, vegetables, livestock, and poultry.

The newspaper asked local women to make a good showing in the embroidery, art, needlework and sewing categories. In order to be eligible for prizes the work had to be created in the Lake Region and could not have won a prize previously at Lake Region fairs.

But of special interest to ladies was a Women’s Suffrage booth. The movement was nothing new, with the first women’s rights convention being held over 65 years earlier in Seneca Falls, New York. That convention had passed a resolution in favor of women’s right to vote. In 1869, Susan B. Anthony established a national suffrage organization and Elizabeth Cady Stanton formed a competing group. They finally merged in 1890 as the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Anthony emerged as the leading force. Women repeatedly attempted to vote and were arrested, with the Supreme Court ruling against them each time.

The Nineteenth Amendment, which granted women the right to vote, became part of the Constitution on August 26, 1920, six years after the Mid-Winter Fair in Devils Lake. Women in the United States finally exercised their right to vote in a national election in the fall of that year.

Dakota Datebook written by Carole Butcher

Sources:

The Devils Lake Weekly World. “Suffragettes to Have Booth.” 6 February, 1914.

The History Learning Site. “Suffragettes.” "http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/the-role-of-british-women-in-the-twentieth-century/suffragettes/" http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/the-role-of-british-women-in-the-twentieth-century/suffragettes/ Accessed 23 December, 2016.

The History Channel. “The Fight for Women’s Suffrage.” "http://www.history.com/topics/womens-history/the-fight-for-womens-suffrage" http://www.history.com/topics/womens-history/the-fight-for-womens-suffrage Accessed 23 December, 2016.