Speaker Pelosi Others Celebrate 19th Amendment CSPAN May 22, 2019 4:54am-5:38am EDT
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at this 45 minute-event. >> ladies and gentlemen, the honorable nancy pe he see. companied by the honorable david mccarthy. ladies and gentlemen the honorable nancy pelosi, the speaker of the house of representatives. cheers and applause] ms. pelosi: yes, indeed, this afternoon is very much a cause for celebration and cheering for what happened 100 years ago today. in the house of representatives.
i want to thank the u.s. army string quartet for making it so pleasant for us. i'm honored to be here with leader kevin mccarthy and the bipartisan members of congress. mostly our women members of congress. we salute our co-chairs of the bipartisan house caucus for women's issues. congresswoman brenda lawrence and congresswoman debbie lesko. [applause] and let us welcome cokie roberts, a trail blazing force for women in journalism and her daughter rebecca, an outstanding journalist in her own right, writing about women. [applause] as many of the women members know, the lindy boggs room, this room, the only room named for a woman in this capitol is named
mother, s lovely rebecca's grandmother, lindy boggs. we thank the women's bipartisan suffrage centennial commission for their leadership to educate the american public about the sufficient rang movement. we're honored to have kay james, the chair of the committee, senator barbaramy cullsky, the vice chair, and rebecca, 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. est person -- especially today as we acknowledge that for women. how wonderful it is to see so many yellow roses brighten this room. such beautiful symbols of the courage of the women and men who fought for and won the right to vote. we're all inspired by the purple
ribbons that 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 sojourner truth, commemorating her immeasurable contributions to the cause of equality and that of all women of color who fought for suffrage. we were pleased to see her take her rightful place in the capitol along with elizabeth cady stanton, elisabeth moss and susan b. anthony. here we are, 100 years since that eventful day when suffragists succeeded in having that resolution pass the house of representatives. here we are 100 years after that day with over 100 women serving in the congress of the united states. [applause]
hat's pretty exciting. all the -- we welcome members of congress present and former, and especially the women members. so that resolution, the house passage of the 19th amendment passed the house. earlier today we passed a resolution observing the historic vote and in two week 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 through next august, 100 years since the adoption of the 19th amendment. so for 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, the press wrote, women given the right to vote that couldn't be further from the truth. women weren't given anything. omen earned, worked for, , sacrificed ht 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 all them suffragists now, as we fight to protect the sacred right to be heard at the ballot box for all americans. the promise of suffrage remains 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 has their -- has served or is serving now, our colleagues, to those women, 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] mr. mccarthy: good afternoon. it is an honor to be here. to commemorate a defining moment in the history of representative democracy. 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] now while we celebrate the centennial of the house officially voting on this 19th amendment, like most pieces of legislation, the injure noah to passage did not begin in a moment that made it through the chambers of congress. no. it began more than 40 years before that. i'm proud to say, madam speaker, it was a californian. it was a republican senator, aaron sergeant, who in 1878
first introduced the 29 words that became the 19th amendment. his ties to the women's suffrage movement started two years before that. you see, in 1872, then-senator-elect sarget met susan b. anthony in a chance encounter on a train. anthony had recently been arrested for illegally voting and was eager to pass the federal amendment to guarantee women the right to vote. she found a strong ally in sarget. anthony and sarget 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. sarget had already left office. but his -- but helped build the momentum behind this important
movement. with a firm resolution and commitment, the amendment was introduced for 40 straight years. but the beginning of the end finally came in our very own chamber, not in the senate. republican representative james mann proposed the resolution that became the 19th amendment on may 21, 1919, the day it passed. 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 lesson can we take away today from this historic moment? the suffrage succeeded because of its unwavering appeal to the principles of equality. the foundation of our common bond of americans. the supporters did not fight for special privileges. they asked for their rights as
americans no longer to be denied. the constitution and its preamble set the standards for our politics 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. cheers and applause] >> good afternoon. it goes without saying, but i'll say it, as we commemorate today with a woman as speaker.
[applause] politics aside, you've got to be proud and i am. thank you so much. and leader mccarthy thank you for being here today. 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 have 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 senatormy cullsky. senator. [applause]
-- senator mikulski. senator. plus 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 sacrifices, the struggles, and the hard-fought victory to secure women's right to vote and you're absolutely right, whenever 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 rib bonns 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. thank you all. [applause]
you know, the women who fought for the right to vote did so because they believed 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's rights convention, the first organized gathering of suffragists, frederick douglas wrote, all that distinguished 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 elected franchise or a hand in making an ad-- and administering the laws of the land. leaders of the early women's movement would certainly be pleased to know that today women's voting outpaces that of men. [applause]
they would also be ex-teemly proud of the amazing, powerful women in this room, a true testament that what we are exercising is our franchise. thank you. >> ladies and gentlemen, the honorable bar rah mikulski, retired united states senator from maryland and vice chair of the women's suffrage centennial commission. ms. mikulski: hi, everybody. i'm going to speak from my chair. i hope c-span can get me. so i'm just delighted to be back in the house of representatives where i served for more than 10 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 suffrage. some things don't change. the podium still doesn't fit me. 40 years later and the damn podium still doesn't fit me. todd new diverse class, i say, power to the podiums that fit everybody. 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 call -- we recall 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, girlfriend, she said don't forget the ladies. but they did. they forgot a lot of things in 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 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 people, to the states for ratification. along the way, the moment of the
passage of the 19th amendment resolution through ratification, there were people who fought hard. poem of color who fought hard. often marginalized and stigmatize bud 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 are here today to talk about. to remember what happened. remember our history. to reflect on our history. but to recommit to the empowerment of women. i salute the new class.
what a wonderful new class. [applause] we salute your large numbers. what salute your diversity. but remember, with diversity comes an -- diversity and election comes 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 able to feel empowered and to make it. so i say god bless america.
god bless our tune constitution. and may the force be with us. [laughter] >> ladies and gentlemen, the honorable brenda lawrence, representative in michigan and co-chair of the house caucus on omen's issues. mrs. lawrence: madam 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. constitution granting women the right to vote.
the amendment was driven by shared ideas of freedom, democracy, civil liberties, and individual rights for all. while the 19th amendment opened the doors for many women to vote, it did not resolve the issue of suffrage for many women of color, native americans, and immigrant women. we continued to battle for voting rights for decades. the native american women, four years later. the african-american women almost seven years after this amendment was passed. the opportunity for a greater political voice drew african-american women to the suffrage movement. i wear a red rib bonn, i'm a proud -- ribbon, i'm a proud member of delta sigma theta. and we marched as black women.
and the story is told often that we didn't ask permission but we knew it was the right thing to do. we were in the back of the parade but we were there. because 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 vision of equality into reality. and it's a lesson that we're applying every day in the halls of congress. it is with great appreciation that i honor the sacrifices of the women who never gave up the fight to ensure liberty, justice, and equality for all. 106 , this body represents
women members of congress, a significant number who are women of color today. [applause] and today an estimated 67 million women participate in our elections. pay attention. which would not be possible without the brave and brilliant suffragists who never gave up the fight for equal rights. i'm so proud and excited that my resolution, h.r. 354, commemorating this historic anniversary of the 19th amendment passed in the house today by unanimous consent from both sides of the aisle. [applause] and i'm going to close with this comment that i use all the time.
i love this country. i love america for all of the journeys and i love a country that one time did not love me back. didn't love me as a woman, it didn't love me as an african-american. but our democracy, the pursuit and dedication to equality that was shown by these amazing women in the suffrage movement, is one of the reasons why i show up here and walk the hl os -- halls of congress which was built by slaves. as a little black girl from the east side of detroit, raised by a southern woman who was the grandchild of an emancipated slave, to stand here in congress and say, i fight because i believe in one nation, under god, indwissable, with liberty and justice for all. and that includes women. thank you. [applause]
>> ladies and gentlemen, the honorable debbie lesko, representative from arizona and co-chair of the house caucus on omen's issues. mrs. lesko: thank you. wasn't that something? what a great job, brenda. you did a fantastic job, very inspirational. well, hello, ladies, how are you doing today? and men. what a historic day this is and what a historic place that we're doing this in. good afternoon. i am congresswoman debbie lesko and i proudly represent arizona's eighth congressional district. this congress i have the distinct honor of serving as the
republican chair of the congressional caucus for women's issues alongside my colleague brenda lawrence. we are a bipartisan caucus work og together to improve the lives of women and families across the country. i am especially honored to join you all here today in statuary hall. the hall of the house. to celebrate the 100th anniversary of house passage of the 19th amendment giving all women the right to vote. this is a special place. n this very room sat eight presidents, including john quincy adams and abraham lincoln. er 100 years ago, jeanette rankin of montana walked through these hallways as the first woman ever elected to congress even before the ratification of
the 19th amendment. at her swearing in, she remarked, i may be the first woman member of congress, but i won't be the last. [applause] we are proof that she was right. since then, a to tall of 365 women have served in the united states congress. this year as we celebrate the centennial of women's suffrage, we also celebrate the most women to ever serve in congress. [applause] we make history today because these women forged the path for us right here in these halllowed halls. the 131 of us women serving today stand as a -- stand on the shoulders of all who came before us. this centennial is one of the
most important in our nation's history. we honor the courage, the determination, and persistence of those who successfully fought for women's voting rights. as we commemorate this incredible accomplishment of women in american history, i believe the most lasting tribute we can pay is to continue our efforts to improve this nation for the next generation of women and men that will come after us. so today, let us 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 suffragist sisters and the others who fought for generations of women they would never meet but still changed the trajectory of their lives. we would not be here today if it weren't for them. over the north door of this
room, dward the rotunda, is a depiction of cleo, the muse of history. riding a clock-wheeled chariot, writing in the book of time. may she fill her pages with even more incredible women for generations to come. thank you and god bless. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, ms. cokie roberts and ms. rebecca boggs roberts. [applause] s: what a true honor it is for us to be here in this halllowed hall as you heard from congresswoman lesko. in front of the room named for
my mother and rebecca's grandmother and with the speaker of the house and all of you fabulous, powerful women and leader mccarthy. it really is an occasion worth celebrating and celebrating well into next year until august. let me read you "the new york times" headline from may 22, 1919. suffrage movement in house, vote 304-89. 19 republicans, 70 democrats, largely from the south comprise opposition. the surprise vote was nicholas longworth who voted the year before the amendment had come to the house and passed by one vote , he voted against it then. but he said things had changed in his state since then. he tnt mention his wife alice who probably wouldn't let him come home.
but after that heartbreaking vote in the house, heart-stopping vote in the house, a heart-breaking one in the senate, lost by one vote. the women fighting for their rights persisted and the house peeker in 1918, the democratic , he said, when i first came to congress, the voice of suffragists was like that of john the baptist crying in the wilderness, it was more a joke than anything else. what he didn't say is what happened to change things. his own wife carted him down to the workhouse to see what horrible conditions prevailed there, where suffragists were imprisoned for the crime of -- the crime of blocking the sidewalk. because they had the temerity to be at the white house.
they were locked up. some for days, some for weeks, some for months. they were locked up. essentially tortured. force fed when they went on hunger strikes to protest. it had the effect of making the men in congress at least somewhat uncomfortable. that plus active organization at e grassroots, relentless lobbies, shrewd public relations, all combined to bring the voice os the none of that is in the newspaper stories. time, after may 21, 1919, passage in the senate seems secure after the loss the year before. the argument of mr. little of kansas is women were working --
they were forced to end -- are in their own likelihood due to demand of a complex civilization. and, he said, women already have , no homes have been distracted due to political disagreement. [laughter] probably not true today. the amendment was passed with the votes of them and only. she opened the debate for women, but she lost her bid in the senate in the next election. as i look around today and see these powerful women, and i think how things would have been different, speaker pelosi would have rounded up the votes, no problem. they would have even found some
way to slip federal money to the suffrage organization. [laughter] lawrenceoman loris -- continue in the tradition who wanted to vote. not just vote for themselves, they wanted to vote for an agenda. they wanted the vote because they wanted to stop child labor, they wanted to institute maternity clinics, they wanted to do a whole host of social welfare things that they had been working on, women had been working on since the beginning of the republic, but they needed the vote to be able to do those things. that is what the congressional caucus on women's issues continues to do in a bipartisan way. we just need more of you, so -- so give continuing please continue encouraging women to run. and one for this generation and the next
generation to know them. we are taking on the task of telling them about suffrages in washington. rebecca. present [applause] as speaker pelosi mentioned, we're standing here and the only room in the capital named after a woman. my mother was won in 1916 before women won the right to vote and congress,a member of and ambassador, a formidable force in american. this history is really recent. it is important to know that women'seep saying, history is a role model for girls, that's fine, but the main reason to know it is because if you do not learn about women's history, you are getting history wrong. [applause] and the reason to know about this movement in women's history is that they have won.
they were incredibly successful activists, they changed the world, and they did it and fairly by women and for women. if you all want to change the world, and i really hope you all worseen there are role models than the suffrages. learn history, vote, then go out and change the world. thank you. [applause] ladies and gentlemen, the honorable nancy pelosi, the speaker of the house of representatives. [cheers and applause] i want to thank our participants for their valuable 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. jeanette waswhen the first woman to serve in congress was acknowledged, when -- was here, she was a very it was a very hostile judiciary committee to women suffrage. so she suggested that they start a committee for women's suffrage, and that was a committee that she spoke for. the role of to committee, which they passed. the leadership made her the ranking republican on the committee on women's suffrage, which then later passed the resolution. even in those days, they had to go around a committee in order
to get to the floor. the other story i want to tell you is a personal one. later was first elected and i went to my first meeting when i went house, to my first meeting at the white house i was not intimidated by going to the meeting, because i had been to the white house many times as an appropriator. or as a member of the intelligence committee. but when i went into the door closed the behind me, i realized this was a meeting had never been to before, it was like a meeting that no woman had been to before. because it was just the congressional leadership with the president of the united states. women have had a seat at the table at cabinet office at the white house appointed by the president, that's wonderful, but the power at the table derived from his. my power derived from the
democratic caucus in the house of representatives. [applause] speaker pelosi: as was the that derived from his leadership. george w. bush, ever gracious, welcoming, making nice real warms -- nice remarks, and all could notn, i really hear what he was saying because i was squeezed in in my chair. realized search or nurture is, they were all in the chair with me. they were all right there. -- sojourner truth, they were all at the chair with me. they were all right there. i had a seat at the table. [applause] speaker pelosi: and then, they
were gone. my first thought was, we want more. again, this is a wonderful day for all of us. it is more special because our democratic leaders have brought a very special guest, the first woman in the first african-american woman to be the speaker of the house of the state of maryland. speaker jones. [cheers and applause] speaker pelosi: speaker jones, remember that name, history. i would like, as we conclude, for all the women past and present who have served in the house and are serving in the house to stand. all of you, stand. [cheers and applause]
speaker pelosi: and so, with those were gathered up here, we would like to propose a toast to to women, wome -- in congress, in the military world, at home, moms, two women, more power to you. -- to women, more power to you. thank you all very much. please enjoy the refreshments. some of our members are enjoying the refreshments early, they are leaders. thank you all.
amendment, which gave women the right to vote. this is 25 minutes. met him speaker, today marks the 100th anniversary of the house passage of the 19th amendment which gave women the right to vote. it is hard to think that 100 years later, that my grandmothers and great-grandmother's generation, women contributed to the building of our nation but lacked the basic civil rights. erica, your vote is your voice, it's what makes all of us equal. we each have one vote. voting is one of the most important things you can do as a citizen. when the 19th amendment