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tv   Centennial of Womens Right to Vote  CSPAN  August 12, 2019 10:28pm-11:13pm EDT

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>> american history tv products are now available at the new c-span online store. go to to see what's new for american history tv, and check out all of the c-span products. >> house speaker nancy pelosi hosted a reception to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the house of representatives passing the 19th amendment to the constitution, which guaranteed women the right to vote. the event from the u.s. capitol included remarks by house minority leader kevin mccarthy, representatives brenda lawrence and debbieless coe, journalist coe key roberts and former senator barbara mikulski. the respective chair and vice chair of the women's suffrage centennial commission.
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>> ladies and gentlemen, the honorable nancy pelosi, the speaker of the house of representatives, accompanied by the honorable kevin mccarthy. ms. cay coles james, the honorable barbara mikulski, the honorable brenda lawrence, the honorable debbie lesco, ms. koki roberts and ms. rebecca roberts. ladies and gentlemen, the honorable nancy pelosi, the speaker of the house of representatives. >> good afternoon. good afternoon, yes, yes indeed this afternoon is very much a cause for celebration and cheering for what happened 100
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years ago today in the house of representatives. thank the u.s. army string quartet for making so pleasant for us. i'm honored to be here with kevin mccarthy and the bipartisan members of congress. mostly our women members of congress. we salute our cochairs of the bipartisan house caucus for women's issues, congresswoman brenda lawrence and congresswoman debbie lesco, and let us welcome a trail blazing force for women in journalism and her daughter rebecca an outstanding journalist in her own right writing about women. as many of the women members know, the lindy bogs room in this room, the only room named for a woman in the capitol is
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named for her lovely mother and rebecca's grandmother lindy boggs. let's thank lindy boggs for her leadership. further acknowledgments we thank the bipartisan women's suffrage centennial commission for their leadership to educate the american public about the suffrage movement. we're honored to have the chair of the committee, senator barbara mikulski, the vice chair, and the executive director with us today. let us acknowledge them and to each and every one of you. i could name you all for the contributions you make for expanding freedom and opportunity in our country, especially today as we acknowledge that for women. how wonderful it is to see so many yellow roses in this room,
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beautiful symbols of the courage of the men and women who fought for and won the right to vote. we're all inspired by the purple ribbons we see, a lovely tribute to the unsung women of color who led the march for suffrage for all women. emancipation hall as you may know a few years ago we installed a bronze bust for the cause of equality and that of all women of color who fought for suffrage. we're pleased to see sojourner take her right place in the capitol along with susan b. anthony. here we are 100 years since that eventful day when suffragettes succeeded in having that resolution pass the house of representatives, and here we are 100 years after that day with over 100 women serving in the
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congress of the united states. [ applause ] >> that's pretty exciting. [ applause ] almost, almost as rowdy as the suffragists themselves, but we welcome all of the members of congress present and former and especially the women members. so 100 years ago that resolution, the house passage of the 19th amendment passed the house. earlier today we passed a resolution observing that historic vote. in two weeks the senate will pass their resolution marking 100 years since the passage in the senate, and then the states across the nation will join in celebrations for the ratification next august, 100 years since the adoption of the
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19th amendment. so about a year and a half we'll be hard at work celebrating the passage of the 19th amendment. it was -- when this amendment first passed, people in the press wrote women given the right to vote. that couldn't be further from the truth. women weren't given anything. women earned, worked for, marched, fought, starved, were starved, sacrificed everything for expanding freedom in our country. since the birth of our democracy, women have not waited for change but have worked for change. now we stand on the shoulders of suffragettes, we call them the suffragettes now, as we fight to pregnant t protect the second right to be heard at the ballot box for all americans. the promise of suffrage remains
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unfulfilled until every american woman can exercise her right to vote, every american really. so thank you all for your leadership, to those who are helping us commemorate it, all of you as well for a brighter, more equal america, and thank you for the joy that your presence brings to this celebration today. just think back 100 years when that vote took place in this house of representatives. i do believe that any one of us who have served or serving now are colleagues to those women whom -- well, the men who made the vote there for women to have the right to vote. think of the cheers that went up in the gallery, and now let us welcome the distinguished leader of the republicans in the house of representatives, congressman kevin mccarthy of the great state of california. thank you all. [ applause ]
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>> good afternoon. >> it is an honor to be here to commemorate a defining moment in the history of representing democracy. and for those of you who are members of this chamber, next time you walk on that floor think of the significance of this day. that is the same floor where they debated and passed 100 years ago the 19th amendment. [ applause ] while we celebrate the centennial of the house officially voting on the 19th amendment, like most pieces of legislation, the journey to passage did not begin in the moment that it made it through the chambers of congress. no, it began more than 40 years before that, and i'm proud to say madame speaker, it was in california, it was a republican
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senator, aaron sergeant who in 1878 first introduced the 29 words that became the 19th amendment. his ties to the women's suffrage movement actually started a few years before that. you see, in 1872, then senator elect sergeant met susan b. anthony and a chance encounter on a train. anthony had recently been arrested for illegally voting and was eager to pass a federal amendment to guarantee women the right to vote. she found a strong ally in sergeant. anthony and sergeant worked together on what became known as the anthony amendment. the text was nearly identical to the words of the 15th amendment, and it said that the right to vote would not be abridged by any state because of a person's sex. the anthony amendment did not receive a vote for nine years. sergeant had already left
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office, but had helped build the momentum behind this important movement. with a firm resolution and a commitment, the amendment was introduced for 40 straight years, but the beginning of the end finally came in our very own chambers, not in the senate. republican representative james man proposed the resolution that became the 19th amendment on may 21st, 1919, the ta day it passe that is why we are here today. 100 years ago today, the decades of advocacy by the suffrage supporters paid off. 100 years ago today the house passed the 19th amendment, but what lessons can we take away today from this historic moment. the suffrage succeeded because of its unwavering appeal to the principle of equality. the foundation of our common bond of americans.
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its supporters did not fight for special privileges. they asked for their rights as americans to no longer be denied. the constitution in its preamble sets standards for our politics a and our effort to form a more perfect union. nothing demonstrates a more perfect union better than the passage of the 19th amendment. thank you. [ applause ] >> ladies and gentlemen, ms. kay coles james, chair of the women's suffrage centennial commission. [ applause ] >> calm it down. good afternoon, and you know, it goes without saying but i'll say it. as we commemorate today with a
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woman as speaker of the house. [ cheers and applause ] >> politics aside you got to be proud, and i am. thank you so much, and leader mccarthy thank you for being here today. you know, as chairman of the centennial commission, i have so enjoyed working with both of you as we have prepared for today and for the year ahead. this commission is made up of women from all walks of life, backgrounds, and ideologies, and we've come together to work in a manner of bipartisanship and unity that unfortunately is all too rare in washington these days, and none of this would have been possible without the expert leadership and partnership of our vice chairman and former senator mikulski.
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senator. [ applause ] we started this endeavor as respected colleagues, and now i am so proud to call her my friend. thank you. the women's suffrage centennial commission was formed by congress to coordinate the nationwide celebration in 2020 of the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment to the constitution. today specifically we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first major step in adopting the 19th amendment, the passage of the resolution in the u.s. house of representatives. sometimes we take the precious right to vote for granted, and this centennial celebration ensures that we don't forget the sacrific sacrifices, the struggles, and the hard fought victory to secure women's right to vote,
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and you're absolutely right whoever said it earlier. we were not given the right to vote. we took it. everything that happened in the past frames who we are today, every single woman in congress is here because of the women who decades ago planted the seeds for justice. it is critically important to honor and remember those women like alice paul and susan b. anthony and ida wells barnett, and elizabeth stanton, and also those represented by our purple ribbons here today, those whose names we may not know but hopefully by the end of the year we all will. what happened 100 years ago also set the stage for the record number of women serving in and running for office making boardroom decisions and raising the next generation of america's leaders.
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thank you all. [ applause ] you know, the women who fought for the right to vote did so because they believe the best way to change the laws that treated women as second class citizens was to have power over those who made the laws. after the seneca falls women rights convention, the first organized gathering of suffragists frederick douglass wrote, all that distinguishes man as an intelligent and accountable being is equally true of women, and if that government is only just which governs by the free consent of the governed, there can be no reason in the world for denying to women the exercise of the elective franchise or a hand in making and administering the laws of the land. leaders of the early women's movement would certainly be pleased to know that today
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women's voting outpaces that of men. [ applause ] they would also be extremely proud of the amazing powerful women in this room, a true testament that what we are exercising is our franchise. thank you. [ applause ] >> ladies and gentlemen, the honorable barbara mikulski, retired united states senator from maryland and vice chair of the women's suffrage centennial commission. >> hi, everybody. [ applause ] hi, everybody. i'm going to speak from my chair. i hope c-span can get me. [ laughter ] so i'm just delighted to be back in the house of representatives
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where i served for more than ten wonderful, joyful years, and i want to thank the speaker for organizing this fantastic event and the cooperation certainly of congressman mccarthy and his caucus, and to be here with the commission members on the commemoration of the suffrage. some things don't change. the podium still doesn't fit me. [ laughter ] 40 years later, and the damn podium still doesn't fit me. [ laughter ] to the new diverse class, i say power to the podiums that fit everybody. [ laughter ] but in all seriousness, how wonderful to be back in the house where they passed the resolution on the 19th amendment. what a powerful statement the house made, and we were called
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today that when the guys were up in philadelphia busy writing the constitution, abigail adams, who was running the farm, raising the kids, paying the bills, what's new girlfriends, that she said don't forget the ladies, but they did. they forgot a lot of hingthings that first draft of the constitution, and hard fought, sometimes bitterly earned, the constitution was expanded, and finally in 1919, the 19th amendment was passed to give women the right to vote. 50% of the population was finallyfina finally empowered, what a wonderful occasion it was, and the constitution, the founders had it right. it always starts in the people's house as it makes its way to the senate and passes on to the
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people, to the states for ratification. and on the way to bring us to the moment of the passage of the 19th amendment resolution through ratification, it was people who fought hard, people of color who fought hard, often marginalized and stigmatized but nevertheless refusing to give up or to give in. so today when we commemorate this resolution as it moves over to the senate, and it moves out to the nation for commemoration, we have to remember what it was about. it was not about gender, it was about an agenda. it was about gender, yes, the empowerment of women, but it was so that we would have an agenda to expand democracy, and that's what we're here today to talk about, to remember what happened, remember our history, to reflect on our history, but
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to recommit to the empowerment of women. i salute the new class, what a wonderful new class. [ applause [ applause ] we salute your large numbers. we salute your diversity, but remember, with diversity comes in elections come duty. it is our duty to make democracy work, and to make democracy work we have to work at democracy. certainly today this commemoration reaffirms that commitment and working hand in hand with this excellent chair of our commission, we hope to plan a commemoration for the year so that you will be so proud of what we recommend, and at the end of our commemoration, america will remember that the constitution includes everybody, and that everybody has an opportunity in our society to be
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able to feel empowered and to make it. so i say god bless america. god bless our constitution, and may the force be with us. [ laughter ] [ applause ] >> ladies and gentlemen, the honorable brenda lawrence, representative from michigan and cochair of the house caucus on women's issues. [ applause ] >> madame speaker, what a sweet sound that is. members of the women's suffrage centennial commission, honored guests, i thank you so much for gathering here today. the 19th amendment played a significant role in the advancement of women's rights, and it's truly a privilege to be here today as we honor the 100th anniversary of the passage of the amendment to the u.s. house -- to the u.s.
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constitution granting women the right to vote. the amendment was guided by shared ideas of freedom, democracy, civil liberties, and individual rights for all. while the 19th amendment open the door for many women, it did not resolve the issue of suffrage for many women of color, native american and immigrant women. we continue to battle for voting rights for decades. native american women four years later. the african-american women, almost 70 years after this amendment was passed. the opportunity for greater political voice for african- american women, drew them to the suffrage moment. i am a proud member of delta
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sigma. we marched as black women. we did not ask permission, but we knew it was the right thing to do. we were in the back of the parade, but we were there. voting rights is an issue for every woman in america. these women, along with many others share a valuable lesson that progress is no accident. it takes the power of persistence and dedication to our goals to turn our a vision of equality into reality. it is the lesson that we are applying every day in the house of congress. it is with great appreciation that i honor the sacrifices of the women who never gave up. they never give up the fight to
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ensure liberty, justice and equality for all. today this body represents 106 women members of congress. a significant number who are women of color today. [ cheers and applause ] and today an estimated 60 million people participate in elections. pay attention. which would not be possible without the brave and brilliant suffrage who never gave up the right for equal rights. i am so proud and excited that my resolution hr 354 commemorating this historic anniversary of the 19th amendment passed in the house today by unanimous consent. from both sides of the aisle. [ cheers and applause ]
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i am going to close with the comment that i use all of the time. i love this country. i love america for all of the journey. i love the country that one time did not love me back. it did not love me as a woman and it did not love me as an african-american. but the persistence and the dedication to equality, that was shown by these amazing women's in the suffrage movement is one of the reasons why i show up here. to walk the halls of congress, which were built by slaves. a little black girl from the east side of detroit, raised by a southern woman who was a grandchild of an emancipated woman. to sit here in congress today, i believe in one nation under god, indivisible with liberty
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and justice for all. and that includes women. [ cheers and applause ] ladies and gentlemen, the honorable representative from arizona and the cochair of house caucus on women's issues. >> thank you, wasn't that something? what a great job read that. you did a fantastic job. very inspirational. will hello ladies, how are you doing today? and men. what a historic day this is. what a historic place that we are doing this in. good afternoon. i proudly represent arizona's
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eighth congressional district. i have the distinct honor of serving as the republican chair for women's issues, alongside my colleague brenda warren. we are truly a bipartisan caucus working together to improve the lives of women and families across the country. i am especially honored to join you all here today. the hall of the house. to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment, giving all women the right to vote. this is a special place. in this very room set eight presidents, including john quincy adams and abraham lincoln. although 100 years ago, he
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walked through these hallways. as the first woman ever elected to congress. even before the 19th amendment. at her swearing-in she remarked , "i may be the first woman member of congress, but i will not be the last." [ cheers and applause ] we are proof that she was rights. since then, a total of 365 women have served in the united states congress. this year, as we celebrate the centennial of the women's suffrage we also celebrate the most women ever serving in congress. [ cheers and applause ] we make history today because these women forged the path for us right here in these hallowed halls. 130 one of us serving today,
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stand on the shoulders of all who came before us. this centennial is one of the most important in our nations history. we honor the courage, the deer termination, and the persistence of those who successfully fought for women's voting rights. as we commemorate this incredible accomplishment of women in american history, i believe that the most lasting tribute that we can say is to continue our efforts to improve this nation for the next generation of women and men that will come after us. so today s celebrate the many women and men who never gave up. who fought hard to ensure the right to vote for every woman in america. we honor the suffragette cisterns who fought for generations of women that they would never meet.
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we would not be here today if it were not for them. over the north door of this room towards the rotunda is the depiction of cleo, the muse of history. writing a chariot and writing in the book of time. even more incredible women for generations to come. thank you and god bless you. [ applause ] ladies and gentlemen, cokie roberts and miss boggs. >> what a true honor it is to be here in these hallowed halls.
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it is named for my mother and rebecca's grandmother. all of you fabulous, powerful women. it really is an occasion worth celebrating. and celebrating well into next year until august. i will read something from may 22, 1919. 19 republicans and 70 democrats , largely from the south comprised congress. is the prize surprised vote. they passed and it has been terrifying. he said things have changed in
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his days since then. he didn't mention his wife who probably would not let him come home. the heart stopping vote in the house. but the women fighting for the right, the house speaker , the democratic leader. he said when i first came to congress, the words of the suffragettes was like john the baptist crying in the river. his own wife had him go there and to see what horrible conditions were there. they were presented for the crime, because they had, they
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chose the white house. so they were locked up some for weeks, some for months. they were essentially tortured and force-fed when they were on hunger strikes. it had the effect of making the man in congress at least somewhat uncomfortable. relentless lobbying, this all combined to bring the suffragettes out of the wilderness. none of that is in his stories. this time after may 21, 1919, after the loss of the year before. they quoted the
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argument of mr. little from kansas. he said that they were forced to give up their own livelihood do too complex demands. no homes had been disrupted as a result of political disagreement. probably not true today. the amendment was passed. the year before it had been on the floor to vote. she open the debate. but she lost in her bid for the senate. so is a look around today and see these powerful women, i think me how things may have been different. speaker pelosi would have rounded up the votes no problem.
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there probably would be a way to slip some federal money to the suffragette organization. in continuing the tradition of the women, they wanted to a vote for an agenda. they wanted to stop child labor. they wanted to institute maternity clinics. they wanted to do a whole host of social welfare that they had been working on since the beginning of the republic. but they needed the vote. they needed the clout to do those things. and that is what the caucus on women's issues can do in a bipartisan way. it is important to bring up the stories today. it is important to know for the
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next generation of voters. my own next-generation, i proudly present rebecca. [ applause ] >> so as my mom and speaker pelosi mentioned, we are standing by the room that is named after a woman. my grandmother was born in 1916, before women won the right to vote. this history is really recent. it is important to note, people keep saying learn women's history. okay, that is fine. but the main reason to know it is because if you do not learn about women's history you're getting history wrong. [ applause ] and the reason to
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know about this movement is that they won. they were incredibly successful. they changed the world. and they did it entirely by women and for women. if you don't want to change the world, and i really hope that you all do. there are worse role models than the suffragettes. they were successful. vote and go out and change the world. thank you. [ applause ] ladies and gentlemen, the honorable nancy pelosi, this speaker of the house of representatives. [ cheers and applause ] >> i want to thank our participants for their valuable
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contributions to the enthusiasm and wisdom of today. i was motivated to tell you a story when i heard some of the stories told here. one was that when jeannette rankin, when she was here it was a very hostile, it was a very hostile judiciary committee . so see she suggested that they start a committee for women suffrage. this is a committee and it would around the to do missionary committee and the rules committee. they made her the ranking republican on women's suffrage.
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even in those days they had to go around a committee. and other story that i want to tell you is a personal one. i went to my first meeting. when i went to my first meeting, i was not intimidated by going to the meeting because i had been to the white house many times. or as a member of the intelligence committee. the meeting that i was going into and the door closed behind me i realized that this was a meeting, like none i had ever been to before. it was just the congressional leadership, the president of the united states. cabinet officers appointed by the president. my power derived
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from the democratic caucus. [ cheers and applause ] as was the republican, derived from his leadership. anyway, george w. bush was ever gracious and welcoming. he made some nice remarks welcoming me. all of a sudden, i could not hear what he was saying, because i was squeezed into my chair. and then i realized that susan b anthony, alice hall, all of them were all in the chair with me. they were all right there. and i could hear them say, "at last, we have a seat at the
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table." [ cheers and applause ] and then they work on. my first thought was, i want more. again, this is a wonderful day for all of us. but more special because our democratic leaders, we have a very special guest. the first woman, the first african-american woman to be the speaker of the house of the state of the maryland. please welcome her. [ cheers and applause ] adrian jones, remember that name. i would like as we conclude, for all women past and present, who have served in the house to stand. all of you stand. so we
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can salute the women. [ cheers and applause ] and so, with those who are gathered appear up here, two women. to congress, to the academic world, to the military world, to women. more power to you! thank you all very much. some of our members are out there enjoying refreshments. thank you all.
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