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Carolyn Graceyon 31 March 2014
Transcript of Women Suffrage
In April 1888, Eva Belles was denied her vote in a Flint school board election.
Understanding her rights, Belles did not go without a fight. Retaining former Flint governor and first president of the Genesee County Bar Association, as her attorney, Belles fought this denial of her vote all the way up to the Michigan Supreme Court.
The 19th Amendment Fight
The fight for women rights nationally, was by no means a one-two knock out. There were several matches that went into achieving these rights, with even more rejections that went into play.
Many well-known women such as Susan B. Anthony, Soujourner Truth, Eva Belles, and the army nurses from the Civil War; played important parts in this process for rights. But many unnoticed associations that were created and turned down, played their part as well. These associations include: Michigan State Suffrage Association (MSSA) and the Michigan Equal Suffrage Association (MESA), as well as many more associations outside of the state of Michigan.
The 19th Amendment
"Every person who met the criteria of being of age, property, and parenthood", were entitled to a vote in an election such as this one.
Attorney Durand argued a strong case stating how the "every person" ruling and not gender should be enforced in deciding whether or not a vote may be placed by an individual. The Michigan Supreme Court decided in favor of Belles and Durand on the case, enabling Belles and other women to vote in such elections.
Although Eva Belles was victorious, Michigan did not amend full voting rights for women until November of 1918.
National Woman Suffrage had followed, when Congress passed the 19th Amendment on June 4, 1919. Later being ratified on August 18, 1920; granting full voting rights to women all over the United States!
Originally as Isabella Hardenbergh, born into slavery in Ulster County, New York, in 1797. In response to hearing a voice from God, Hardenbergh changed her name to Sojourner Truth. Sojourner Truth was a well-known, important voice to the women's suffrage movement. Commonly referred to as a "Crusader of Justice", Truth traveled to share her powerful speakings.
In 1856, Sojourner Truth moved to Battle Creek, Michigan, where she continued sharing her wealth of woman empowerment, as well as her inspirational speakings for social and legal reforms. Later in 1858, at the Women's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio; Truth gave a memorable speech that will be forever known.
"I have heard much about the sexes being equal...I can carry as much as a man, and can eat as much too, if I can get it...again."
Sojourner Truth passed away in 1883, and w as buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Battle Creek, Michigan. Although gone, she will always be remembered for the strong woman she was and her fearless words of empowerment and wisdom.