August 26, 2020 marked exactly 100 years since the 19th Amendment became law, ensuring that gender could not exclude women from voting in the United States. To celebrate, the Old Point Loma Lighthouse was lit in purple and gold, and the park hosted an outdoor exhibit about the suffrage movement. The celebration continues online! The exhibit along with text and audio transcripts for accessibility are available below. More information about the 19th Amendment is available at nps.gov/womenshistory.
This event was part of the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission’s “Forward Into Light” initiative to light up buildings across America in the suffrage colors of purple and gold. Purple signifies unswerving steadfastness to the cause, while gold signifies the flame of the torch leading the way.
Forward Into Light:
Text: Celebrating the 19th Amendment. August 26, 2020 marks exactly 100 years since the 19th Amendment became law, ensuring that gender could not exclude women from voting.
Follow the exhibit signs to learn more about the movement and its leaders from 1848 to 1920. “Forward Into Light” was a popular rallying cry for the women’s suffrage movement.
Exhibit panel text, illustrations, and picket signs: Sita, Cabrillo National Monument youth volunteer
Panel Design and women cutouts: The Women’s Museum of California
Event Production: Cabrillo National Monument Foundation and Cabrillo National Monument
Image: Painting - Woman on horse holding a bugle with a votes for women banner look towards the Capitol Building passed trees. Both woman and horse are dressed in purple and gold. Text reads, “Official Program Woman Suffrage Procession. Washington D.C. March 3, 1913.
Prominent Women 1848-1879:
Text: Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902). Author, lecturer, and chief philosopher, Stanton worked closely with Susan B. Anthony and their partnership dominated the women’s movement for over half a century.
Text: Susan B. Anthony (1820 – 1906). An icon of the Women’s Suffrage Movement, Anthony traveled the country to give speeches, circulate petitions, and form local women’s rights organizations.
Text: Sojourner Truth (1797 – 1883). Both an abolitionist and a women’s right activist; in 1851, she delivered the speech “Ain’t I a Woman?” at a woman’s rights conference where she was the only female speaker.
Image: Sepia photo covers entire top section of poster. 2 women look at us while they sit at a desk. Both wear dresses. One has short, curly white hair and wears a cross necklace. The other woman has her hair pulled tightly back and parted down the middle.
Image: Color photo inset on bottom right corner of poster. Woman with black skin sits with knitting materials on her lap. She wears wire glasses, a blue dress, a white shawl, and a white fitted hat.
The Fight Continues 1880- 1900:
Text: In the late 1800s women’s rights activists had difficulty making progress. Women were traditionally not supposed to form political opinions or even speak publicly on important matters.
Text: 1887 – The first vote on a constitutional amendment for woman suffrage is taken in the Senate and is defeated.
Text: 1890 – The National American Woman Suffrage Association is formed. The Movement focused on securing suffrage at the state level. Despite many failed attempts in legislature women and men continued to push for suffrage.
Image: Sepia photo – Woman stands on a balcony under an American flag and above a banner which cut off reads, “nal American Suffrage Ass’n”. Woman wears a long jacket and a brimmed hat. She leans forward, looks down, and her mouth is open as if talking.
The State by State Race: Female leaders of diverse backgrounds were key:
Text: Before the 19th amendment was ratified on a federal level in 1920, many states had already recognized women’s rights, most in the west. California became the 6th state to grant women voting rights in 1911.
Image: Sketch – Woman in yellow dress walks on the western side of a map of the United States. She wears a long cape that reads Votes for Women, holds a lit torch high above her head and points to the eastern side of the United States. The eastern section of the map is black with sketches of women reaching toward the woman in yellow. The western states are marked as Wash, Oregon, Nev., Cal., Ariz, Utah, Idaho, Mont., Wyo., Col, and Kan.
Text: Lydia Flood Jackson (1862 – 1963): Businesswoman and champion of women’s rights and suffrage in California for African American women and people of color.
Image: Sepia photo – Headshot of a woman with black skin and black hair pulled tightly back behind her head except for bangs over her forehead. She wears small pearl earrings and a broach on her neck.
Text: Maria Guadalupe Evangelina de Lopez (1881 – 1977): The Los Angeles suffragist was the first person to translate suffrage speeches into Spanish.
Image: Black and white photo – Headshot of a woman with black hair tightly rolled on top of her head. She wears a white blouse with a high neck.
Text: Clara Lee and Emma Tom Leung: In 1911, were the First Chinese American women to register to vote in the United States.
Image: Black and white photo – 2 women sit at a large table in front of 2 stacks of paper. They hold pens in their hands. 2 men wear suits and sit behind the women.
Equal Pay for Equal Work: Lighthouse Women “The Bravest Woman in America”:
Text: Lighthouse keepers – both men and women – were paid the same salary for the same job. From 1828 – 1905, at least 122 women were officially appointed keeper and twice that were appointed assistant keeper. Women lighthouse keepers became a symbol of women’s strength and some were used as an example by the women’s suffrage movement.
Text: Ida Lewis was a nationally recognized female keeper. She single-handedly rescued two drowning soldiers from her Rhode Island lighthouse. For her efforts, she became the first woman to be awarded the rare Gold Lifesaving Medal. Elizabeth Cady Stanton formally recognized her as a model for what women could accomplish.
Image: Black and white photo on left side of poster– Portrait of Ida Lewis (1842-1911). Woman in black dress and white collar stands with her arms crossed. She wears a broach necklace, dangling earrings, and her hair is pulled back and hangs just below her shoulders.
Image: Postcard photo in center of poster – Woman in a dress sits in a canoe, looks over her shoulder, and holds the paddles. High waves reach over the canoe. A lighthouse is surrounded by high waves in the background.
Image: Black and white photo inset in bottom left of poster – Group of 9 men, women, and children stand outside in front of a fence that surrounds a 2-story house. A tower with a light is attached to the back of the house. The women wear white dresses and the men wear suits. Caption: Celia Sweet and her family at the Ballast Point Lighthouse.
Local Lighthouse Ladies:
Text: Celia Sweet (1886 – 1974). Sweet helped her husband tend the Ballast Point Lighthouse and bay beacons. She was the first federally funded female harbor pilot in San Diego.
Image: Black and white photo inset under the above text – Woman in a dress sits sideways on a wooden chair inside and looks down at the baby she holds in her lap. Baby wears a long white gown.
Image: Newspaper clipping from The San Diego Union: Wednesday morning. Title: Woman Granted Pilot’s License Wins Honor Through Prowess.
Subtitle: Mrs. Celia A. Sweet Qualifies To Navigate Large Power Craft on Bay.
Newspaper Text: For the first time in the history of its bay, San Diego has a woman pilot. Last week a license was issued from the San Francisco hull inspector’s office to Celia A.Sweet “to operate or navigate a craft of not more than sixty-five feet in length, propelled by machinery, in whole or in part by gass, gasoline, petroleum, naptha or electricity, and carry passengers for hire.”
The license is dated June 29, 1913, and is signed by James Guthrie and Joseph P. Dolan, United States inspectors of hulls.
Mrs. Sweet is the wife of Jim Sweet, a member of the firm of Winston & Sweet, boat builders. Of the flotilla of bay craft Sweet has designed and built perhaps the Lady Meredith, The Jester and Relue are the best known.
For a number of years Mrs. Sweet accompanied her husband on his trips about the bay lighting the beacons when he had that contract and it was this practice that fitted her to win trophies and a bay license.
Two years ago, in her husband’s speedy Relue, Mrs. Sweet won a handsome cup offered by the Tent City management, and the same season, in a series of races sponsored by the San Diego Yacht club, she showed her ability to pilot in the racing game by defeating the best helmsmen in the harbor and winning a cup offered by the club. A number of times Mrs. Sweet has taken her woman friends “outside” for a day on the ocean, and in other ways has shown herself a genuine navigator. There are pilots and then some more pilots on the bay, but Mrs. Celia A. Sweet is San Diego’s first and only woman pilot.
Newspaper Image: Sketch of woman with hair braided behind her head wears a blouse with a large sailor’s sash and a patch. A small covered boat with an American flag is drawn below her.
Image Caption: Mrs. Celia A. Sweet, First San Diego Woman to Be Granted Pilot’s License for Bay, and One of the Fast Boats (The Relue) Which She Has Driven.
The Push for Ratification 1900 – 1920:
Text: 1900 – The Progressive Era begins. Women from all classes and backgrounds enter public life. The issue of woman suffrage becomes part of mainstream politics.
1916 – The National Women’s Party forms. Some members form the “Silent Sentinels,” who silently protest with picket signs in front of the White House and at other key locations until the 19th Amendment becomes law.
June 4, 1919 – The 19th Amendment receives majority vote in Senate. Now it is up to the states to ratify it and make it law.
August 18, 1920 – Tennessee becomes the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment. Now that two-thirds of states have voted for the amendment, it will finally become law.
Image: Black and White photo on left side of poster – Woman stands in front of a white, brick pillar outside. She holds a banner on a pole that reads, “Mr. President How long must women wait for liberty.” She wears a long dress, overcoat, stockings, and flat shoes. Her hat wraps around her head and neck. She stands tall with a frown on her face.
Leading Activists 1900 – 1920s:
Text: Alice Paul founded the National Women’s Party to focus on national suffrage rather than the state-by-state approach that other women’s suffrage activists were working towards. She was jailed for protesting, but courageously returned to the fight even after abuse.
Image: Alice Paul (1885 – 1977) – Headshot of a woman with white skin and dark hair. She wears a white frilly blouse and a large black loose-brimmed hat with a flower on it. Her eyes are wide and her lips form a tight horizontal line.
Text: Carrie Catt was a suffragist and peace activist recognized for her outstanding speaking skills. She was president of National American Woman Suffrage Association when the 19th Amendment was ratified and founded the League of Women Voters.
Image: Carrie Chapman Catt (1859 – 1947) – Headshot of woman with white skin, and wavy white hair parted down the middle. She wears a white blouse with a high neck and a light open jacket with embroidery on it. She has high eyebrows and her lips form a tight horizontal line.
Text: A skilled writer and journalist, Wells was active in women’s rights and the women’s suffrage movement, establishing several notable women’s organizations.
Image: Ida B. Wells 1862 – 1931 – Side headshot of a woman with dark skin and black hair tightly rolled in a bun on top of her head. She wears a brown lacy blouse with a brooch at the neckline. Her lips make a gentle horizontal line with a slight curve up at the side.
The 19th Amendment – Victory at Last!
Text: “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.” Passed by Congress June 4, 1919. Ratified: August 18, 1920. Officially law: August 26, 1920.
Image: Large black and white photo in backdrop of entire poster – 3 women in brimmed, decorated hats stand close to each other, hold paper megaphones in their mouths, and raise American flags in their hands. A younger girl sits below them with a paper megaphone in her mouth. Her hat reads Votes for Women.
Beyond the 19th:
Text: The 19th Amendment made denying voting rights based on gender illegal, yet still not all women – or men – in the United States could vote. We remember the suffrage progress made after 1920 and celebrate the continued work for universal voting rights.
1924 – Indian Citizenship Act: Native Americans now are US citizens, but states continue to decide who votes. Many continue to disenfranchise Native Americans.
1943 – Magnuson Act: Chinese immigrants in America could finally become citizens and therefore could vote. (The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 previously prevented this.)
1962 – Utah is the last state to enfranchise Native Americans.
1965 – Voting Rights Act: African Americans and Native Americans continued to face exclusion from voting through mechanisms like poll taxes, literacy tests, and intimidation. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 eliminated many of these.
Image: Black and white on bottom half of poster – 12 women stand outside a building. 1 woman shakes hands with another who faces the crowd. All women wear dresses and brimmed hats. Some carry flags. Others carry flags that read, “We demand an amendment to the United States Constitution enfranchising women” and “Welcome Suffrage Envoys.”
Explanation panel: Suffragists of the National Women’s Party picketed the White House & other important locations from 1917 to 1920. These picket signs are recreations of ones they carried.
Picket Sign #2: Help us to win the vote (1914)
Picket Sign #3: Democracy Should Begin at Home
Picket Sign #4: To ask freedom for women is not a crime. Suffrage prisoners should not be treated as criminals.
Picket Sign #5: Mr. President what will you do for woman suffrage? (1917)
Picket Sign #6: President Wilson, how long do you advise us to wait? (1916)
Pictures from the Suffrage Movement
Alt Text: Black and white photo- 3 women with long black jackets, black-rimmed hats, and white sashes with illegible text stand outside in front of a black iron fence. 2 women hold a large sign that reads, "Mr. President What will you do for woman suffrage"
Alt Text: Black and white photo - A woman in a frilly dress, black flats and a brimmed hat stands on a sidewalk outside a building. She holds a large sign that reads, "To ask freedom for women is not a crime Suffrage prisoners should not be treated as criminals"
Alt Text: Sepia photo -A woman in a white dress, leather belt, and white brimmed hat stands outside next to a pole with a pennant flag that reads, "Democracy should begin at home"
Alt Text: Sepia photo - Women in dresses and brimmed hats crowd a street corner outside a stone building. 8 picket signs with 3 slogans are held by the women. "Vote against Wilson. He opposes national woman suffrage. Wilson is against women. President Wilson how long do you advise us to wait?"