White Sands Missile Range will be celebrating the anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution Aug. 26 at the Frontier Club. With that amendment, 51 percent of the adult citizens in the United States won the right to vote. The passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920 capped the most extensive civil rights campaign our Nation had ever experienced.
By July 1920, with a number of primarily southern states adamantly opposed to the amendment, it all came down to Tennessee. It appeared that the amendment might fail by one vote in the Tennessee house, but twenty-four-year-old Harry Burns surprised observers by casting the deciding vote for ratification. At the time of his vote, Burns had in his pocket a letter he had received from his mother urging him, “Don’t forget to be a good boy” and “vote for suffrage.” Women had finally won the vote. And so, on Aug. 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution became law, and women could vote in the fall elections, including in the Presidential election.
To recognize this important Constitutional anniversary, and as a reminder of women’s continuing efforts for equality, Aug. 26 is formally designated Women’s Equality Day. The idea originated with a massive parade down Fifth Avenue in New York City to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 19th Amendment’s passage.
In looking at all we have accomplished in the years since the passing of the 19th Amendment, we have made great strides in the right direction. Have we completed all that we need to? No, but with the help of all involved, we can continue in the right direction. We have the ability to eliminate the glass ceilings and stereotypes; by-standing is not an option. Our community deserves only our very best efforts; when we see something, say something. This does not just apply to suspicious activities, it also applies to unfair treatment of others, regardless of their gender, ethnicity and so on. We at WSMR make a difference every day, within the community and abroad. Then again it could just be me.