Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Celebrate the Vote Festival Will Re-Create Suffragists' 1916 St. Louis Demonstration

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Celebrate the Vote Festival Will Re-Create Suffragists' 1916 St. Louis Demonstration

Article excerpt

Last summer, Rebecca Now came across an image on the internet a black-and-white photograph from 1916 that she couldn't get out of her head.

The picture showed about 50 women standing in ankle-length dresses, sashes draped across their torsos, parasols in hand. Now did some research and uncovered the photo's backstory.

The women were not pageant contestants.

They were part of a group of more than 2,000 suffragists who gathered in St. Louis that summer for a silent demonstration during the Democratic National Convention.

"These are our grandmothers and great-grandmothers," says Now, of Webster Groves. "It took a tremendous amount of courage to protest. Few women went to college; they had very few professional options."

On the "Golden Lane," as it was called, the women waited silently as the all-male delegates walked to the convention. They wanted women's suffrage added to the Democratic Party platform, part of a final push in a 70-year movement that concluded with the 19th Amendment in 1920.

"It's a historical event in St. Louis history, women's history and the history of nonviolent protest. The Women's Movement does not get credit as the start of the nonviolent protests," Now says. "I thought, 'It's almost the centennial. Let's do something!'"

Now approached Kathleen Farrell with the League of Women Voters, and the idea for Saturday's Celebrate the Vote Festival was hatched.

"I had small-scale ambitions initially," says Now. "But Kathleen said, 'Let's do one big event.'"

The morning kicks off with a re-creation of the Golden Lane in Pacific Parc, the park across the street from Central Library downtown. Anyone is welcome to join in, and participants are encouraged to wear white and yellow like the suffragists, symbolizing purity of purpose and courage.

"We want to bring different voices in, hit people where they are," says Farrell, a retired communications professor at St. …

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