East Texans celebrate 100 years of 19th Amendment, giving women right to vote

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Published: Jun. 4, 2019 at 9:13 PM CDT
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SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - Today marks the 100th anniversary of the U.S. Congress voting in favor of the 19th amendment to the Constitution.

That amendment prohibits the states and federal government from denying citizens the right to vote based on their sex. It would take another year for 36 states to ratify the amendment as required by law.

“We’re the backbone of this country; we’re the mothers, we are the ones that are rearing the children, and our opinion is very important,” voter Virginia Browning says.

Browning’s mother was among the first generation of Texas women able to freely cast a ballot at the polls.

“She was always right down there as soon as anything came up; she was there voicing her opinion,” Browning says. And when Browning turned 21, “I thought, I’m grown, I’m an adult, I can vote.”

Suffragettes protested and lobbied for decades to have that right, battling some pretty radical beliefs.

“It was interesting looking back at some of the ideas that people had at the time, that it would make women less fertile, and that it would take away men power,” Smith County Democratic Party member Lauren Perry says.

Texas ratified the amendment just 24 days after Congress, the first southern state to do so.

"Women bring different things to the table, not only for women’s rights, but for the rights and welfare of children," Perry says.

And women do turnout to vote at rates that exceed male voters each election season. “I consider it a privilege every year to get to go vote,” Browning says.

It took decades of protesting and lobbying for women, and finally, the agreement was ratified in August of 1920.

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