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1914-1920 Timeline

Major activities and events are listed chronologically. Each item is designated as either primarily national or North Carolina (US or NC).

This timeline provides a chronology of additional national and North Carolina events.

February 9, 1914
The Charlotte Daily Observer (quoting the Lincoln Times) reports that women landowners in Lincoln County were recently allowed to vote on a drainage tax, making Lincoln County the "first in State to grant votes to women." (NC)

February 18-June 10, 1914
Lavinia Engle of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) addresses the NC House of Representatives. Over the next few months Engle speaks to groups in cities across the state. (NC)

May 2, 1914
Inspired by Chicago's first suffrage parade planned for May 2, "Suffrage Day" is celebrated in cities and towns in North Carolina and across the nation. (US)

May 3, 1914
Susan Iden of the NC Federation of Women’s Clubs writes in the Charlotte News that the Federation is non-political and will not discuss the issue of women’s suffrage. (NC)

May 9, 1914
Fifteen North Carolina women participate in a suffrage parade held in support of the Bristow-Mondell Federal Suffrage Amendment. Minta Jones of Charlotte serves as the state's marshal. (US)

May 20, 1914
Charlotte suffragists march in front of US Vice President Thomas Marshall in a parade held during a three-day (May 19-21) celebration of the signing of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. (NC)

Fall 1914
Prominent suffrage leader Gertrude Weil founds the Goldsboro Equal Suffrage League. (NC)

November 9-10, 1914
The first convention of the Equal Suffrage League of North Carolina is held in Charlotte's Selwyn Hotel. (NC)

January 12, 1915
Edwin Y. Webb, a NC representative opposed to women’s suffrage, opens the debate about women's suffrage in Congress. Congress decides that the issue should be decided at the state level. (US)

January 24-February 2, 1915
NC suffragists, including Laura Holmes Reilley, appeal to the NC legislature for enfranchisement through an amendment to the state constitution. Despite defeat, suffragists consider the bill a success for attracting interest in the topic.

Anna Howard Shaw, president of the National American Women's Suffrage Association, also addresses the legislature. (NC)

June 21, 1915
The US Supreme Court votes that the "Grandfather Clause" in laws of several southern states which disenfranchises Black men's votes is unconstitutional. This decision will play a role in the suffrage movement. (US)

June 1916
Both the Republican and Democratic parties endorse suffrage in their convention platforms, with the caveat that the issue be decided by the individual states. (US)

January 17–February 15, 1917
Buncombe County representative Edward Gallatin Roberts introduces two bills in the General Assembly: one that would allow women to vote in municipal elections, and one that would allow women in Asheville to vote. Both bills are defeated. (NC)

January–November 1917
Suffragists of the Congressional Union and the National Women's Party begin a strike at the White House that lasts several months. In the spring, police began arresting protestors en masse. Imprisoned suffragists go on hunger strikes and endure beatings and violent force-feedings. (US)

March 1917
The Congressional Union merges with the National Woman's Party, a group of enfranchised women in the western states. Alice Paul is the chair. (US)

April 6, 1917
Women join the war effort by serving in the Red Cross and the Armed Forces. Many replace men in the workforce in manufacturing jobs. Their work during the war bolsters the suffrage cause. (US)

August 28, 1917
Women suffragists are arrested while picketing at the White House. The women are sent to the Occoquan Workhouse, where many are mistreated. (US)

January 1918
Montana congresswoman Jeannette Rankin addressed the US House of Representatives on the suffrage issue: "How shall we explain… the meaning of democracy if the same Congress that voted for war to make the world safe for democracy refuses to give this small measure of democracy to the women of our country?" (US)

Spring 1918
During the pandemic which killed more men than women, women increasingly join the workforce. Their growing involvement in the economy builds public support for women’s rights. (US)

June 9, 1918
The Federation of Women’s Clubs changes course and endorses the cause of women’s suffrage. (US)

January 10, 1919
Prominent Democratic politician and orator William Jennings Bryan speaks in support of women's suffrage at a North Carolina Equal Suffrage Association conference in Raleigh. (NC)

February 26, 1919
The DNC adopted a resolution calling for each state to select one woman and one man to represent that state at conventions. Mary Owen Graham, president of Peace Institute in Raleigh, is recommended by Governor A.W. McLean to be NC's female member of the Democratic National Committee. (US)

June 4, 1919
The Nineteenth Amendment, also known as the Susan B. Anthony Amendment, passes Congress and goes to the states for ratification. (US)

November 1919
Carrie Chapman Catt speaks at the fifth annual North Carolina Equal Suffrage convention in Greensboro. (NC)

February 14, 1920
The non-partisan League of Women Voters is founded by suffragists for the purpose of registering women to vote and educating them about politics. (US)

March 3, 1920
Two female delegates attend the Republican Party’s state convention in Greensboro. When Mary Settle Sharpe is placed on the ticket for Superintendent of Public Instruction, the convention "wept and howled." Smoking is banned with the presence of women at the convention. (NC)

March 8, 1920
Mrs. Josephus Daniels is selected by the chair of the Democratic National Convention as one of seventeen women and seventeen men to serve on the DNC Executive Committee. (NC)

March 16, 1920
Nell Battle Lewis, a suffragist, becomes assistant editorial writer for the News and Observer, becoming the first woman journalist for that newspaper.  She covered the women's movement among many other topics. (NC)

April 3, 1920
The Democratic Party holds county conventions throughout NC.  "Three score or more" women elected as delegates to state convention. Pitt County, where no women attended the convention, unanimously adopts a resolution against the Democratic Party state platform supporting the Anthony Amendment. (NC)

April 7-8, 1920
The state Democratic Party holds its convention in Raleigh. The party declares against the ratification of a state suffrage referendum, adopting instead a suffragist plank that appealed to the state legislature to pass the Susan B. Anthony Amendment during a special summer session. (NC)

April 9, 1920
Representatives of the "Southern Rejection League" (Southern League for the Rejection of the Susan B. Anthony Amendment) distribute propaganda in Raleigh after the NC Democratic State Convention. Mary Hilliard Hinton leads the North Carolina branch. (NC)

June 1920
The NC branch of the Southern Rejection League opens their headquarters in the dining room of the Raleigh Hotel. (NC)

June 21, 1920
Forty Wake County men form the anti-suffrage States Rights Defense League. (NC)

Summer 1920
States' Rights Defense League (W. H. Williamson, president) and the NC branch of Southern Rejection League combine forces and publish newspaper, the State’s Defense. (NC)

August 11, 1920
Sixty-three of 120 NC state legislators send a telegram to the Tennessee legislature stating that NC will not ratify the Anthony Amendment. (NC)

August 13, 1920
Governor Bickett addresses a joint session of the NC legislature in a packed hall urging ratification of the Anthony amendment. (NC)

August 17-18, 1920
North Carolina Senate votes down the Anthony suffrage amendment 25-23 after four hours of bitter debate. Tennessee becomes the thirty-sixth state to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment: "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex." (US)

September 4, 1920
The Cabarrus County primary is the first NC election in which women vote. Mrs. J. A. Cannon is the first NC woman to vote. Rosa Mund, an unannounced candidate, is the first woman to receive votes for a public office (county treasurer). (NC)

September 27, 1920
Under the headline, "A Challenge to White Men and Women of North Carolina," The Greensboro Patriot and other state news sources publish a letter allegedly from the Colored Women's Rights Association. The letter encourages Black women to register for the upcoming November election using the assistance of Republicans.  Some news sources report that the letter is a scam by the Democratic Party to discredit Republicans. (NC)

October 7, 1920
The North Carolina Chapter of League of Women Voters is founded in Greensboro. (NC)

November 2, 1920
Lillian Exum Clement is elected to the North Carolina General Assembly. She was the first woman in the state legislature, and the first in the South. (NC)