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tv   American Artifacts Rightfully Hers American Women the Vote Exhibit  CSPAN  August 4, 2019 6:00pm-6:49pm EDT

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his later years. there was no holding him down. he had that amazing grit. learn more about richard nixon's life sunday at 8:00 p.m. and midnight eastern. you are watching american history tv only on c-span3. >> hi, i am corinne porter, i am a curator at the national --hives movie is him archives museum. before we head into the gallery i want to talk about this lenticular out in the lobby. it has a photograph of the 1913 women's suffrage march, looking up pennsylvania avenue toward the united states capital. it is overlaid with a photograph
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from the 2017 women's march from pennsylvania as well. it is a lenticular, which has a special effect. as you walk by it changes between the two. we wanted to have it in the exhibit to help grab the public's attention, and to signal this is a historic exhibit, one that continues to have some contemporary relevance today. let's head into the gallery, hers" is onfully display. archives national exhibition to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment. it is more than a 19th amendment exhibition. the 19th amendment, landmark voting right victory that it was, did not give all women the right to vote. women were already voters by the time the amendment was added to
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the constitution. this exhibit looks at that story as well. we have this introductory video meant to pull people into the gallery. it gives you a sense of what types of stories you are going to encounter here at the "rightfully hers" exhibition. five organized into sections, where you can ask questions that you see here. who decide who votes? why did women fight for the vote? how did women when the 19th amendment question mark what was the 19th amendment impact? and what voting rights struggles persist? this is a small but important framing exception -- framing section of the exhibit. there is not a citizen's right to vote in this country, and
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when the constitution was first ofified, it made no mention voting qualifications, that is really a power that was left to the states. one of my favorite stories that really highlights the powers women in newave as jersey were america's first voters, beginning in 1776 when new jersey became a state. the new jersey state constitution made no mention of sex when discussing voting aalifications, it only had property requirement. women who own enough property, primarily widows and single did vote in and elections at the local, state and national level. they did so for the first 30 years of the republic, until new jersey changed its law, using its power as a state to do so, to restrict the vote to just white men of property.
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women asoint in time, well as african-american men lost the right to vote. it wasn't until the 19th amendment's ratification they got the right back. section,d to the next which is, "why do women -- did women fight for the vote? -- vote?" job of a wonderful telling the personal story of the women, what the absence of the vote meant for them in terms of economics, social, legal, and other consequences. like emily barber. she was a teacher, she sent a petition to congress. woman, shethat as a has to pay equal taxes with men, but as a non-voter has no voice and how those tax dollars are spent.
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that withr states superior capabilities for teaching and governing schools -- i love to point out that this petition was sent to congress in 1879. 140 years ago this year, women were already arguing they needed the vote to press forward with equal wages. of course, as a wage earning barber,omen like emily from their working experience, it was clear how vulnerable women were without the vote. one of the other ways a lot of women came to ultimately fight for their right to vote was engagement through other reform issues. lots of women were engaged in
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the antislavery movement, the , as well asovement other educational, public health, and social reforms. one of the most important endorsements came from the christian temperance union in 1881. they were the largest women's organization at the time. here fromis petition the women christians temperance union that argues that the ballot is the most potent element in all moral and social reforms. activity,men's reform they realized even if they didn't initially support women's suffrage, they needed the ballot in order to prep for the changes that were most important to them. i love that this exemption -- the section of the exhibit has wonderful records that tell stories of individual women who fought for the vote. we wanted to include as many
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voices and arguments as we could from women and men who fought for women's voting rights. we developed this projection display that includes beautiful portraits, as well as quotes from other women and men who were active in the suffrage movement, arguing why women needed the vote. >> working women must use the crushingo avoid the of our bodies for the profit of a few. rights of a female part of the community are often times disregarded or forgotten and consequence of their declaration of political rights. >> let's move on to the third section of the exhibit, which is the focal point of the exhibit. it's the largest section.
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how did women when the 19th amendment? oflook at the diversity women as well as strategies that were engaged in the fight to ultimately win the 19th amendment. -then sevenore decade multi generational struggle. of the firstne critical juncture points in the struggle for women's voting rights. that came at the end of the suffragistsen women , many of whom were engaged in the antislavery movement, hoped that as the government considered the rights of freemen that women may also gain the right to vote at the same time. here we have a petition for universal suffrage. that is for everyone to get the right to vote.
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from 1866, it's signed by a number of women whose names are pretty familiar with the women's suffrage movement, including susan b anthony and lucy stone, and really urging the government to consider extending the right of suffrage to women as it considers doing so for newly emancipated african-american men. them, theely for government did not listen to their pleas. once the 15th amendment passed congress, it was clear that women, both african-american and white women, were not going to get the rights to vote. this created a huge amount of tension among women suffragists. they were divided on whether or not to support the 15th amendment, and it created something that is called the schism in the suffrage movement.
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two new national organizations formed. one was the national women's suffrage association, founded by anthony and stanton. 15thdid not support the amendment. they focused their work from that point onward to fighting for a constitutional amendment that would give women the right to votes. the we have a petition from american women suffragists association, founded by lucy stone, her husband and other suffragists. they did support the 15th amendment. they focus their efforts on women winning the right to vote on the state and local level. they weren't necessarily opposed to a constitutional amendment giving the right to vote. --y didn't feel that it was they weren't very optimistic at the success of a constitutional amendment at this point in time.
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one of the fascinating things about the women's suffrage after women that lost the vote in new jersey in 1807, the first state to give inen the right to vote was 1869 in the west. wyoming was the first territory at the time to give women the vote and became the first state to do so when they obtained statehood in 1890. no states east of the mississippi gave women the right to vote in the 19th century. here we have a position from utah. utah had a mormon majority legislature. congress was opposed to the , madece of polygamy latter efforts -- made efforts in the latter part of the 19th century to outlaw it. women whoion is from
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already got the right to vote in utah, when congress was trying to pass legislation to outlaw polygamy, and they make lovely arguments about the fact that women managed to maintain their respectability as voters and really urged congress not to take the vote away from them when they passed that legislation. congress was not successful in doing so at this point in time, but just about a decade later women in utah did lose the vote when congress passed anti-polygamy legislation, but once utah got its statehood they gave the vote back to women. one more interesting thing about this story, this is the only time congress took the boat away from women as well. movement's suffrage took more than 70 years. generations of women had to fight for their right to vote.
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one of the reasons it took so long for the suffrage movement to be so successful was because there was furious opposition to and franchising women, not just from mail politicians, but a lot of women as well. this is a period of time of great social change, women's social roles outside of the home were shifting dramatically, and lots of women resisted that change. we had this fantastic petition for more than 850 women, who urged congress not to give them the vote, and they make a number of different arguments about why they don't want the vote. argue that, "because these changes must introduce a fruitful element of discord in relation,ng marriage which would come to the infinite
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detriment of children and increase the already alarming prevalence of divorce in this country." this petition comes from 1872, so pretty remarkable that that argument would be made already back then. and we've got this great graphic here that shows the mother heading out the door on election day while her husband is left at home with the children and doing all the cooking and cleaning, and really speaks to the fears that a lot of anti-suffragists had at that point in time. certainly lots of women and men were opposed to giving women the right to vote because of how it might change, in particular, the family dynamic. that was not the only reason that anti-suffragists were opposed to giving women the right to vote. we have this section, this thebit case that looks at
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way race came into the discussion and the debate over giving women the right to vote. were used arguments on both sides of the suffrage movement, not only for or against giving women the right to vote, but for or against doing so through a constitutional amendment. have this fascinating postcard from the georgia association opposed to women's suffrage. i will read a couple of arguments that the postcard makes to vote against women's suffrage. suffrage "wipes out the disenfranchisement of the negro by state law, and because white supremacy must be maintained." it makes clear that southern states in particular, after the
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15th amendment's ratification, after the end of reconstruction, had been able to implement discriminatory measures that pretty effectively disenfranchised a lot of african-american men. they feared that giving the women the right to vote, in particular african-american women, would undermine that effort. it's also really important and was a goal of this exhibit that we highlight the critical role that african-american suffragists played in the fight for women's voting rights, in particular the ultimate success of the 19th amendment. we have this petition from washington, d.c., signed by both african-american men and women, urging congress to pass a constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote. something i find fascinating about this petition is that
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these are petitioners from the thisict of columbia and at period in time, 1877, when this wereion was signed, there no voting rights in the district of columbia. something interesting about this petition is it is signed by two of frederick douglass's children, including fred lyric -- including frederick douglass junior. all of the documents we looked at so far in this exhibition are in the holdings of the national arc i, and the national arc preserves them for future generations. i think it is really spectacular that a petition that you sent to thesess today, just as african-american petitioners did in 1877, becomes part of the national archives holdings, and we are fortunate we have it here today to tell the story.
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thus far on this tour, we have seen lots of petitions. women, when pressing for their voting rights, really only had their first amendment rights available to them to press their government for their rights and for political change. first amendment rights that suffragists use, the freedom to assemble, they used well, gainings public attention for their cause. we have this great wall mural here, one of many suffrage parades that were staged throughout the country. this one is here in washington, d.c. from 1913. it was one of the most consequential marches that was staged. women -- more than 5000 suffragists participated in this march. it was held the day before firstw wilson's
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presidential inauguration. i hope that you can see here, this is all the space these women had to march up pennsylvania avenue. this photograph is digitized from a congressional hearing that was held after the march was over. the police didn't do very much to control the crowd. the suffragists could barely make their way through the crowd at points, and they faced verbal harassment and even some instances of assault as well as they marched through this unfriendly crowd. werehe police argued there just too many people, so they couldn't possibly keep the crowds back. they could have opened the way for these women to march peacefully for their rights. knowf the women that we who participated in that march
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is marie baldwin. she is a native american woman. the photographs you see of the women suffragist movement are primarily white women marching and protesting for their vote. we know women of color were to thend were important movement, and we wanted to make sure the spotlight their stories whenever we could. we know marie baldwin was a participant of the suffragist march here in washington, d.c.. this is her official personnel whatphoto, she worked for is today the bureau of indian affairs. i love that she chose to wear her traditional native dress for the picture as well. out thatnt to point ida b wells barnett was another woman of color who participated
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in the 1913 suffragist march and was a critical activist, not only for women suffragists but for a number of different issues. throughout the gallery we have women's photographs in these gold frames. we just wanted to make sure we pulled in as many different women's stories and highlighting the important role they played in the struggle for women's voting rights. you'll see that throughout the gallery. petitioned, they marched and they protested. the site for women's voting rights would not have been said at thef, as i start of this tour, millions of women were not already voters. that's because they are states chose to give them the rights to the wyominging with territory. some states chose to give women equal voting rights with men, and other states chose to extend
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partial or limited suffrage to women. great records that help tell the story of partial suffrage in particular. one of my favorite records and the entire exhibit is this voting machine from 1910. entrances toparate get into the voting area. left is an entrance at the top that says ladies, on the right there is an entrance for gents. you can see there is a complicated system of pulleys and levers. i don't know how those gears are intended to work, but the intention would be that women couldn't vote for everything -- women who couldn't vote for everything, men would go on the
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left side of the entrance and all those gears and levers would close off whatever ballot measures they were not allowed to vote for. if you are a man you could go 's entrance on the right. this patent drawing is from 1910, so this was 10 years before the 19th amendment was ratified. were -- and the american public was dealing with the question of some women having voting rights, but not equal voting rights with men. another critical community of working class women. we already heard the argument from emily barber, that teacher who, as a wage earning woman, pressed for voting rights. workeden, whether they in a profession or in a factory or other industry, were a really critical community, and the struggle for women's voting particular, because
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working women's engagement helped turn the women's suffrage movement into a mass movement. as well as the strategies they brought to the movement. in particular their experience in organizing labor. we have this great petition here that still has an instruction sheet attached, which i love because it shows the way they translated some of those strategies they learned forgetting petitions signed for unionizing to how they translated that for the struggle to get signatures from men and women to support women's suffrage. as factories,such s.rkshop
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the woman suffrage movement turned into this mass movement. we have women marching through the streets, signing greater numbers of petitions. then we come to the point where the united states enters the war during world war i. this creates a tension point in the women's suffrage movement. women gain tremendous momentum behind they are movement, but most suffragists fear that to continue to add to the vote while the u.s. went to war, that they would lose support for their cause because they would look unpatriotic. women, most women and the largest suffragist at the time, chose to put their public agitation for the vote aside and devote
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their time to supporting the war efforts. we have this great collection of uniforms from women who volunteered with the red cross and served both domestically as well as abroad. it's a lovely collection and i love that i was able to use it to talk about women's wartime service, which was important to gaining a lot of public support for giving women the right to vote. chose to set aside their women's suffrage activities. the national women's party, the really militant branch of the women's suffrage movement, really chose to step up the political pressure towards the president at this time. they began to picket the white house in early 1917. women were actually the first americans to picket the white
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house. we have this banner we borrowed from the national women's party, as well as discrete footage showing women marching -- as this great footage showing women -- to call attention to women's suffrage, to embarrass the president and call out the hypocrisy of the united states going to war during world war i, the war to make the world safer for democracy, while women at home still didn't have their full citizenship rights. were picketings outside of the white house during the war. the wilson administration did not necessarily respond kindly to their activities. as the u.s. mobilized for war and really began to ramp up its engagement in that conflict, silent sentinels were harassed
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on the street, some of those women were arrested and also jailed. thatve some documents here talk about that story, in particular women's imprisonment for peacefully protesting for their rights. although the silent sentinels were not necessarily very popular with mainstream suffragists or with many members , they american public were nevertheless appalled that these women were imprisoned for peacefully demonstrating for their rights. criticism that the wilson administration received for the treatment of the silent sentinels, as well as the political pressure that they maintained on him, women, service during the war, was finally enough to
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--n the public tied in favor public tide in favor -- he went to congress and urged that they pass the women's suffrage amendment as a war measure. the senate voted a couple of days later and the measure still failed to pass by the required two thirds majority of that chamber to become a constitutional amendment by just two votes. news is the next session of congress, the measure passed the house on may 21 of 18 -- of 1919, then passed the , and the amendment passed congress and went out to the states for ratification.
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in order for that amendment to become part of the constitution, it needs to be ratified by the states. here we have in the center of our exhibition, the focal point of this story, the story of the 19th amendment's journey from a proposed constitutional amendment to becoming part of the constitution. these three documents help tell that story. the first record is the joint resolution, proposing the amendment to the constitution extending the right of suffrage to women. when we say the 19th amendment, this is the document we are talking about, it's the joint resolution that passed congress , 1919. 4 it doesn't become a constitution until it is ratified by three quarters of the state, which was 36 states at the time. a requirement that the 19th amendment met when tennessee to ratify 36th state
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the proposed amendment on august 16, 1920. here we have a ceremonial copy of the secretary of state's certification that the 19th amendment had indeed met the constitutional requirements for it to become a constitutional amendment. the that women procured right to vote in the united states constitution. here we have the story of the 19th amendment's journey to become part of the constitution, but i wanted to tell a few more its road of ratification, including the first states that ratifies, as well as a little bit more of the story behind tennessee. that was a pretty intense battle to finally pass the amendment in that state. in tennessee, as the tennessee legislature was fighting over whether or not to ratify the 19th amendment, it ultimately
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only passed by a single vote. we wanted to tell that story here. the freshman legislator who voted to pass the -- voted to ratify the 19th amendment was story goes, and the that he was opposed to women's suffrage, but his mother urged to support the amendment if his vote was needed to do so. fortunately for us he kept his promise to his mother. will just point out that as you round that corner from the 19th amendment, we have this huge wall mural. this is a photograph from the national women's party. represent the moment of celebration as she is unfurling the national women's party flag with 36 stars, representing the 36 states that voted to ratify, just so it is
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clear to everyone who comes here that we reached a critical milestone in women's fight for the vote. the next section of the exhibit is, what was the 19th amendment's impact,? we wanted to look at the impact the 19th amendment had for women as they began to use their power as new voters. looking at early pieces of legislation women fought for and some of the successes as well as the setbacks they encountered. the exhibit also really becomes a foundational section of the exhibit, but looks at the ongoing struggle for greater women's equality and continuedy that has in the year since the 19th amendment ratification. equal think about the rights amendment, and some
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suffragists did immediately, or very quickly begin to pivot to quality inn's legal the constitution. interestingly, at that point in time most women did not support an equal rights amendment. as i mentioned earlier, women were engaged in various reform movements, and they hadn't been completely unsuccessful at winning important protections resisted, and many including 13 rather large women's organizations -- resisted an equal rights fearednt because they would one become part of the constitution women would lose those important protections. we also wanted to look at the ways that women fought for greater political representation .
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of course, that is a struggle that continues today as well. not equalstill numbers of women in congress and other -- as well as state and local governments. a littlet to have just bit of fun, and i pulled together this playful section of thatacts and ephemera represent the different ways women as voters have shown their support for their political candidates. we onlyhysical gallery, look at a couple of stories focused on the decade immediately following the 19th amendment was -- amendment's ratification. there are many more stories in the 100 years since the 19th amendment's ratification focused on women's ongoing struggle for greater equality, opportunity and political representation. some ofnted to make that important context and history available in the
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exhibit, but we couldn't fit it into the actual gallery, so we developed this interactive maze to allow visitors to explore some of those ongoing struggles that women continue to fight. the rightse exhibition that look at women's rights more broadly, which is one floor down in the museum. choose to play the interactive maze game, you can select -- you get to select an avatar, then you are taken where youe maze encounter some of the ways women and pressed for, succeeded, sometimes were not successful in winning greater voting rights. the maze itself is meant as a metaphor for that ongoing struggle, because of course you have to try to find your way through the maze just as women
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would have had to struggle to find their way forward in the ongoing struggle for equality. to the last section whate exhibit, which is, voting rights struggle persist? millions of women did not get the right to vote under the 19th amendment. women were already voters. millions of women and men continued to struggle for their voting rights after the 19th amendment's ratification, because they were denied the right to vote for reasons other than their sex. this exhibit tries to look at some of those different stories from different groups of women. the ongoing struggle they faced and what ultimately secured voting rights for different groups of women. one of the most notable stories in this section of the exhibit is the struggle for african-american women and men, in particular in the south, to gain their right to vote.
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i have a couple of documents here. one of my favorite letters in the whole section of the exhibit is from bloom early -- from lulu is from birmingham, alabama. she writes to the president to say she was turned away when she registered -- went to register to vote, but she should have the right to vote under the 14th, 15th and 19th amendments. it is the only letter in the research i did for this exhibit where i found an african-american woman who mentioned all the constitutional amendments that extend her voting rights. she goes on further to say that her two brothers who served during world war i, one of whom lost his life in service to his country -- and she is urging the president to get this important act to justice. i love this pamphlet next to her because it so clearly
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outlines a number of the different voting restrictions that were used in the south to keep african-americans from exercising their right to vote. i will just read off what they have listed here. primaries,hite inaccessibility of the polls, restrictive registration hours, and other more subtle restrictions against voting --" i think what they mean there is issues related to intimidation as well as discrimination and voting, things like unfairly administered literacy tests, breadth of economic retaliation, and sometimes threats and acts of violence against african-american voters that attended to exercise their right to vote. it isn't until the voting rights
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act of 1965 passes congress that many of the discriminatory measures are outlawed. women and men in the south are really able to exercise their constitutional right to vote. they are not the only group of americans who continued to struggle and encounter issues of after the 19th amendment's ratification. other areas where women, and of course men, run into issues with the rights to exercise -- issues with exercising their rights to vote -- it says nothing about the district of columbia or other u.s. territories like puerto rico. puerto rican women, although they were engaged in the suffrage movement since the early 20th century, were not included by the 19th
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amendment, and they are territorial legislature refused to extend them the right to vote when the 19th amendment was ratified. -yearfaced another 15 struggle to secure voting rights for puerto rican women. i should mention puerto rican women were already united states citizens at this point in time, they gained citizenship in 1917. , writing to letter president coolidge in 1920 nine, urging his support for a measure that was before congress to give women the right to vote. in particular she is asking that he will sign the bill if it passes. they achieve a partial victory, not all women get the right to 1929,n puerto rico in literate women are able to secure their rights to vote. it's not until 1939 that all
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puerto rican women gained the right to vote in puerto rico. for both puerto rico as well as the district of columbia, even today they don't have equal voting rights and voting representation in congress with american citizens who live in the states. i the beginning of this tour said there is not a citizen's right to vote in this country today, but that doesn't mean that citizenship isn't often a prerequisite in order to exercise the right to vote. women who are not recognized as u.s. citizens when the 19th had tont was ratified wait until they were recognized as citizens in order to exercise their right to vote. two groups of women whose story we tell here our native american women, as well as asian immigrant women. americans are not recognized as united states citizens until 1924.
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to say they mean necessarily gained the right to vote. many discriminatory measures that african-american voters encountered also kept a lot of native american voters from the polls as well. , theyian immigrant women were not legally allowed to obtain citizenship until the 1940's and 1950's. we have this photograph from , and it's an interesting story. japanese internees, if they were u.s. citizens, could vote if they were incarcerated in internment camps, and even some japanese immigrants were allowed to vote just for a camp assembly-type election, which is an interesting little side story.
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thatdition to the ways different groups of americans have continued to struggle since the 19th amendment's ratification in order to secure the right to vote, we also wanted to look at some other pieces of legislation and other constitutional amendments that opened the polls to even more voters. like the 26th amendment, which lowered the voting age from 21 , and the national voter registration act, which is better known as motor voter today, which made it easier for all americans, but especially younger and poor voters, in particular, to register to vote and hopefully use their right to vote. here we have a t-shirt that was gifted to president clinton when he signed motor voter into law. for some of our younger visitors, i think they may enjoy
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seeing the "rock the vote" logo. as a member of the mtv generation, i remember watching rocky to vote specials, where all the celebrities come out and encourage younger voters to engage and rock the vote. in the first section of the "rightfully hers" exhibit, who decides who votes? the states power to determining qualifications played a critical role in the women's struggle for the vote. it became important in determining voting rights today. we ended the exhibit here with the supreme court decision in shelby county, which upheld the constitutionality of the preclearance provision of the voting rights act. however it did struck down the formula that was used to determine which states and jurisdictions were subject to
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the preclearance provision. that has resulted in a number of changes to voting laws. in recent years there have been new voting eligibility requirements that have emerged in multiple states. some of them have made it easier to vote, but some have made it more difficult to register and exercise your right to vote. as we sat at the start of this states power to determining qualifications continues to be important today. we hope that the visitors of this exhibition will take this message home with them and learn about voting laws and their states so they can be engaged voters and ensure that they can exercise their right to vote every election day. so far the response has been overwhelmingly positive, both as i walked visitors through the triedt and as i've just to observe people. of teenagers,mber
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it is field trip season here at the museum. they seem to really love the content. the i most excited about is interactive voting booth. to have ake we needed voting booth, so everybody, whether they are registered voters or have yet to register to vote, or are looking forward to that day they get to head to the polls and get the experience of voting here. you get to see the up -- you get the opportunity to see what ballot box issues are important to you. you get to take a selfie to share with your family and friends, something you can't do it any other polling place in the country. : americanully hers women and the vote" will be on
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view in the national's until january 2021. with stops in florida, louisiana, tennessee and south carolina. >> our look at some of the highlights from the last 12 months continues as we take you to santa monica california. >> we see almost 9 million people per year come to the pier. that is all walks of life, all income levels. there are almost as many different reasons to come as people who visit it. i think if you are to walk down today on any given day, you will hear different reasons from each one of them. it's a walkable place you can get away from the city.

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