November 04, 2019

Gillibrand Announces That Following Her Invitation, Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission Will Meet At Seneca Falls To Honor The 100-Year Anniversary Of Women’s Suffrage

Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission Will Support Projects Across the Country to Celebrate the 100-Year Anniversary of Women Gaining the Right to Vote

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced that, following her invitation, the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission will host one of their meetings at the Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls. The meeting will be held next year during the Women’s Rights National Historical Park’s Convention Days, an annual commemoration of the first women’s rights convention in the United States. The Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission was created to honor the 100th anniversary of the passage and ratification of the 19th amendment, and will celebrate this significant milestone by supporting projects and initiatives across the country. The 19th Amendment, which was ratified on August 18th, 1920, prohibits states and the federal government from denying women the right to vote.

“I am thrilled that the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission has accepted my invitation to meet in Seneca Falls to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of women’s suffrage,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Though there is still work to be done to ensure that every vote is counted, we’ve come a long way since the first women’s rights convention was held in Seneca Falls. There’s no better place to celebrate one of the greatest milestones in our nation’s history than the birthplace of the women’s suffrage movement. Hosting one of the Commission’s meetings during Convention Days in Seneca Falls will be an important way to commemorate these historic achievements and the heroic efforts of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Tubman, and other New Yorkers who played pivotal roles in the women’s rights movement.”

“The New York State Women’s Suffrage Commission is excited to welcome the National Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission to Seneca Falls, the site of the first women’s rights convention and the birthplace of the women’s rights movement,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Chair of the NYS Women’s Suffrage Commission. “As we celebrate the centennial of the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment in 2020,  Seneca Falls continues to serve as a source of inspiration and a reminder of what we have accomplished and what we still need to do to achieve true equality. I thank Senator Gillibrand for her leadership and helping to ensure that New York is part of the national dialogue.”  

"The Women's Suffrage Centennial Commission is honored to accept Senator Gillibrand's invitation to visit Seneca Falls, New York in the centennial year of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. When the suffragists began their organized fight for women's equality in 1848 at the first Women's Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, they demanded the right to vote and declared, without fear, "we hold these truths to be self evident; that all men and women are created equal." It is to honor the legacy of the radical, profound, and courageous women and men who started a revolution in Seneca Falls that the Women's Suffrage Centennial Commission works to celebrate and commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment," said Anna Laymon, Acting Executive Director, Women's Suffrage Centennial Commission.

The Women’s Rights National Historical Park is where the Seneca Falls Convention was held in 1848. The Seneca Falls Convention was organized by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a native of Seneca Falls, and was the first women’s rights convention in the United States. It was from this meeting that the Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions emerged, which set the framework for the national women’s suffrage movement that soon followed. The Women’s Rights National Historical Park is one of the many stops on the Votes for Women History Trail, which connects sites throughout Upstate New York that were important to the establishment of women’s suffrage.

Gillibrand was an original cosponsor of the Women's Suffrage Centennial Commission Act, which established the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission. Gillibrand was also an original cosponsor of the bipartisan Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act that passed Congress last week, which would create a silver minted coin in honor of the centennial anniversary of the 19th amendment.

The full text of Senator Gillibrand’s letter to the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission may be found here and below:

Kay Cole James
Chair
Women’s Suffrage Commission
Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave SE
Washington, DC 20540 

Dear Chair James,

            In light of the upcoming 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage and the passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment, I am writing to respectfully request that the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission hold one of its meetings at the Women’s Rights National Historic Park in Seneca Falls, New York. The State of New York is the birthplace of women’s rights, and Seneca Falls is among the most legendary landmarks of the suffrage movement. As we approach this monumental anniversary in United States history, meeting in Seneca Falls would be an important way for the Commission to honor these historical achievements and the heroic efforts of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and other champions of New York who played a pivotal role in the fight for women’s rights.

            Seneca Falls and other nearby cities in New York State have provided the stage for many of the women’s suffrage movement’s most historic accomplishments. Organized by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a native to Seneca Falls, the Seneca Falls Convention was held in 1848. It was from these meetings that the Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions emerged, which set the framework for the national women’s suffrage movement that soon followed. To commemorate these important milestones, the Women’s Rights National Historic Park was later established by the National Park Service in 1980.

            The women’s suffrage movement also has roots in the City of Rochester, where the home of Susan B. Anthony is located and now serves as a museum and National Historic Landmark. Near the City of Syracuse, fellow suffragist Matilda Joslyn Gage is also honored at her historic home in Fayetteville, and the Harriet Tubman Home and National Historic Park is located nearby in the City of Auburn. While meeting in Seneca Falls, Commissioners would have the opportunity to add visit any of these area sites, allowing for a more complete experience and understanding of the impact these amazing women and the region had on the suffrage movement.

            New York State has long been at the epicenter of the women’s suffrage movement upon which the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission was established. It is for this reason that the Commission should hold a meeting on the symbolic, hallowed grounds of Seneca Falls and pay tribute to the historic achievements that brought equality and the constitutional right to vote to women for the last 100 years.

Thank you for your serious consideration of this request, and I look forward to receiving your response.

Sincerely,

Kirsten Gillibrand
United States Senator