North Carolina and the 19th Amendment

North Carolina depicted in gray – indicating that it was not one of the original 36 states to ratify the 19th Amendment. Courtesy Megan Springate.
North Carolina depicted in gray – indicating that it was not one of the original 36 states to ratify the 19th Amendment. CC0

Women first organized and collectively fought for suffrage at the national level in July of 1848. Suffragists such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott convened a meeting of over 300 people in Seneca Falls, New York. In the following decades, women marched, protested, lobbied, and even went to jail. By the 1870s, women pressured Congress to vote on an amendment that would recognize their suffrage rights. This amendment became known as the 19th Amendment.

After decades of arguments for and against women's suffrage, Congress finally voted in favor of the 19th Amendment in 1919. After Congress passed the 19th Amendment, at least 36 states needed to vote in favor of it for it to become law.

Mrs. E. St. Clair Thompson, from North Carolina, was a member of the National Woman's Party (NWP). She was the Southern field secretary of the NWP and organized conventions for the group in many of the Southern states.
Mrs. E. St. Clair Thompson, from North Carolina, was a member of the National Woman's Party (NWP). She was the Southern field secretary of the NWP and organized conventions for the group in many of the Southern states. Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/mnwp000057/

Women’s suffrage had a lot of support in North Carolina. By the time the 19th Amendment reached the North Carolina state legislature in August of 1920, 35 other states had already ratified it.

Many Americans thought North Carolina would become the 36th and final state to ratify the amendment. But many of the state representatives could not agree on whether or not to recognize women's suffrage rights. Then news came that Tennessee had ratified the amendment, making it the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment. As a result, women’s suffrage became legal all across the country, even in North Carolina.

In 1971, fifty years later, North Carolina ratified the 19th Amendment.

State flag of North Carolina
State flag of North Carolina. CC0

North Carolina Places of Women's Suffrage: Battery Park Hotel

The second annual State Suffrage Convention was held on October 29, 1915 at the Battery Park Hotel in Asheville. The hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Convention organizers welcomed fellow suffragists from across the country. But the North Carolina Equal Suffrage League discourage more confrontational suffragists from attending, including Alice Paul. North Carolina women believed their mission would be undermined by suffragists like Paul as she was more direct in her tactics.

Image of brick hotel with multiple stories. Photo: by Teemu08, CC BY-SA 3.0

Discover More Places of Ratification

Battery Park Hotel is an important place in the story of ratification. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Sources used to make these state pages include: Ida Husted Harper's History of Woman Suffrage: 1900-1920, Volume 6 (1922), the National American Woman Suffrage Association papers (Library of Congress), and National Register nominations from the National Park Service.

Last updated: April 11, 2019