FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JANUARY 1, 2021
Nonprofit reaches its goal of documenting 2020 sites of importance to the women’s suffrage movement on a searchable mobile-friendly database by the end of 2020.
The National Votes for Women Trail (NVWT) was not a new idea. In fact, Senator Hillary Clinton had proposed legislation that included a Votes for Women History Trail Route on July 19, 2007. Congress passed the legislation, but funding was never appropriated and the bill (S. 1816 – 110th) died. The importance of documenting the 72-year struggle for women’s suffrage, however, continued to guide the The National Collaborative for Women’s History sites. The non-profit, which began in 2001 is dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of sites and locales that bear witness to women’s participation in American life, and works to make women’s contributions to history visible so that all women’s experience and potential are fully valued. In preparation for the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment, they began an all volunteer effort to create a National Votes for Women Trail (nvwt.org).
With the goal of creating a searchable mobile-friendly database for use by educators, researchers and heritage tourists, the database began with its first entry in February of 2016. Through the next four years, the National Votes for Women Trail built a national network of State Coordinators to research and enter sites. Their goal of documenting 2020 sites by the end of 2020 was reached on December 31, 2020. “We are so proud of this effort – to add to this crucial body of knowledge of American history. Women’s suffrage enfranchised over half of our democracy, and many of the places we have identified were previously unknown and uncelebrated,” stated Marsha Weinstein, President of the National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites.
As the NVWT grew, the William G. Pomeroy Foundation in Syracuse, New York recognized the significance of the project and offered to fund a minimum of 250 historic roadside markers for sites of particular importance. This transformed the virtual NVWT into a physical trail. The final deadline for nominating sites for Pomeroy markers is January 15, 2021.
Dr. Judith Wellman, Vice President of The National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites, also heads the NVWT Pomeroy Marker Advisory Committee of national scholars. “As we remember all those who struggled for the right to vote, we also recognize that racism pervaded much of the European American suffrage movement. Before and after 1920, many methods – including legal restrictions, intimidation, and even murder – were used to exclude both women and men – especially African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos/x, and Asian Americans. We have made it a priority to shine a light on these underrepresented suffragists, who fought so valiantly against so many forces, whenever we are able.”
The national Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission also honored the work of this project by providing funds for a project coordinator and four historians to accelerate the research process to complement the selection of Pomeroy marker sites.
In addition, The National Trust for Historic Preservation awarded the NVWT a grant to streamline the growing database and map.
The NVWT has met monthly throughout this four-year project via conference call. Consequently, the pandemic did not affect the project as it did so many other planned celebrations of the women’s suffrage centennial. “We are grateful for the work of the legions of volunteers that allowed us to reach our goal of 2020 sites by the end of 2020,” stated Nancy Baird Brown, NVWT Chair. “However, it is our ultimate goal to see this project continue to grow and document the work of all suffragists. The National Votes for Women Trail is an essential tool to tell this amazing story of perseverance to our children and grandchildren. May they find the role models they need to help them face their struggles with equal courage.”
For more information please contact:
Marsha Weinstein 502-819-2537 firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Judith Wellman 315-529-7808 email@example.com
Nancy Baird Brown 518-774-7282 firstname.lastname@example.org