sarah walker | Prairie Public Broadcasting

sarah walker


In 1889, who could vote and how they could vote became a keen part of the debates during North Dakota's Constitutional Convention.  A. S. Parsons of Mandan headed the standing committee on elective franchise that examined voting rules.  Regarding women's suffrage, newspapers noted that this chairman was “unfriendly to the scheme in any shape or form.” Consequently, full enfranchisement was not awarded to women in the constitution, but they were granted the right to vote for school officials, a right they had also held under the territorial laws.


Even as Dakota Territory prepped to divide into states in 1889, women’s suffrage was a point of contention. Suffragists presented a petition at the territorial convention in January that was signed by over 4000 women asking the legislature to enact a law giving women the same voting rights as men.


On this date in 1914, suffragists were prepping to represent their cause at the North Dakota State Fair, to be held in Fargo from July 20-25.

Suffrage Symbols

Jul 8, 2020


On this date in 1913, well-known North Dakota resident Sara Cushing received accolades for her recent submission of “a design in the form of a sticker for use on all correspondence, which met with the immediate approval of the suffrage leaders as the insignia for which they have been wishing. The design is in the suffrage colors, yellow and white, and the two phrases, Service for Uplift and Votes for Women, are prominent.” The Fargo Forum noted, “North Dakota has the honor of being the home of the author of what is expected to be the national emblem for the suffrage cause.”


After the passage of the Federal Suffrage Amendment through the U.S. House and Senate on June 4th, 1919, Carrie Chapman Catt, president of the National Woman Suffrage Association, sent out a multitude of requests for governors to call special sessions for the purpose of ratifying the amendment.


In recent years, we have grown increasingly aware of “green” terms, reducing carbon footprints, and improving energy efficiency, to the point where many of these environmentally friendly terms have been added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. But progress and energy efficiency have been goals longer than that.


The Central Racing Circuit of North Dakota met early in 1909 to organize for their annual horse races. All reports suggested the upcoming season would be a highly successful one—exciting news for North Dakota, which newspapers noted “[had] a reputation as a racing center.” This race also garnered attention because “its organization [was] said to be well-nigh ideal.” The locations for the series weren’t too far apart, making it easier and safer to ship horses between venues.


In 1874, the Pembina Bill was proposed to the territorial legislature. This bill would carve a new Territory out of Dakota Territory called Pembina. Senator Sargent offered an amendment to that bill that would allow women the right to vote at the formation of the new territory. Newspapers reported that Sargent offered this because he believed granting women the right to vote would "purify society and open wider avenues to them." 


The Federal Suffrage Amendment to the Constitution passed through the U.S. House and Senate on June 4th, 1919; and thereafter, suffragists rallied, cajoled, hoped and prayed that their united dream would triumph as the bill was sent out to the states to be approved by a three fourths majority. The amendment was known colloquially as the Susan B. Anthony Amendment, as she had drafted it many years before.


Dickinson had been established as Pleasant Valley Siding in 1880, but the name changed by 1881. It became the county seat in 1883, incorporated in 1899, and became a city in 1900.  And on this date in 1909, Dickinson was abuzz with an idea proposed by Mr. James C. Young to the city council, on how to speed up development in the city.