Agents of Change: Female Activism in Virginia from Women’s Suffrage to Today
Organized in conjunction with the statewide Women’s Suffrage Centennial, this exhibition celebrates a century of women’s social and political activism in the commonwealth and the positive change they brought about in their communities, the state, and the nation. Artifacts highlight the female change-makers who created new models of empowerment and opportunities for women, fostering a more inclusive and equal society.
The story of Virginia's suffragists and their contributions to the fight for women's suffrage is little known. This exhibition reveals how women created two statewide organizations to win the right to vote. Virginia suffragists were a remarkable group of talented and dedicated women who have largely been forgotten. They were artists and writers, business and professional women, and educators and reformers who marched in parades, rallied at the state capitol, spoke to crowds on street corners, staffed booths at state and county fairs, lobbied legislators and congressmen, picketed the White House, and even went to jail.
In anticipation of the 100th anniversary of the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, the legislature of the Commonwealth of Virginia established a task force to coordinate a variety of educational and cultural programs throughout the state in 2020. The Virginia Museum of History & Culture was named the primary planning body for the State’s commemoration.
In recent decades, historians have also shown that Virginia women—as civic leaders and reformers, genteel ladies and embattled laborers—were also significant historical actors. Learn more in this lecture by Cynthia A. Kierner.