On Aug. 26, 1920, after decades of coordinated efforts across the United States, the 19th Amendment was adopted to ensure constitutional protection for women's right to vote. While Indiana University Bloomington will commemorate that momentous occasion on that date — which is now widely celebrated as Women’s Equality Day — our campus programming began in January 2020 and will continue throughout the calendar year. Purple, white, and gold flower beds will be planted around the Indiana Memorial Union in honor of the purple, white, and gold flag of the Congressional Union, which later became the National Woman’s Party. After the sun sets on Aug. 26, the Indiana Memorial Union building will be lit up in purple and gold.
Among the programming is a Themester course for fall 2020 titled “Sex, Race, and Voting Rights,” taught by Wendy Gamber, Byrnes Professor and Chair of the Department of History in The College of Arts and Sciences; Lisa-Marie Napoli, director of the Political and Civic Engagement program; Lauren MacLean, professor and chair of the Department of Political Science; and Stephanie Sanders, Peg Zeglin Brand Chair, Department Chair, and Provost Professor in the Department of Gender Studies. The class will feature speakers from all four of these programs in addition to guests such as Provost and Executive Vice President Lauren Robel and Ann Birch, president of Bloomington-Monroe League of Women Voters. The fall 2020 Themester is focused on democracy.
The Journal of American History, published by the Organization of American Historians and edited by IU, is publishing "Sex, Suffrage, Solidarities: Centennial Reappraisals," a series intended to provoke new questions about the 19th Amendment and its connection to political, economic and cultural transformations. The series will continue throughout 2020 — with research articles, features, and reviews published in the journal and its related blog and podcast — to foster creative thinking about the amendment and its complex legacies.
Programming partners on IU's 19th Amendment and Equality Day events are the Political and Civic Engagement Program; the Arts & Humanities Council; the Department of History; the Office of the Provost & Executive Vice President; and Themester.