March 12, 2019

Gillibrand Invites Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission To Meet At Seneca Falls To Honor The 100 Year Anniversary Of Women’s Suffrage

Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission, Which Gillibrand Pushed to Create, Will Host Events Throughout the Country to Celebrate the 100 Year Anniversary of Women Gaining the Right to Vote

Washington, DC – As the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission begins to coordinate events to commemorate the upcoming 100 year anniversary of women gaining the right to vote, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced her invitation for the Commission to host one of their meetings at the Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls. The Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission was created to honor the 100th anniversary of the passage and ratification of the 19th amendment. The 19th Amendment, which was ratified on August 18th, 1920, prohibits states and the federal government from denying women the right to vote. In a letter to the Commission’s Chairwoman, Kay Cole James, Gillibrand noted that the women’s suffrage movement has roots throughout Upstate New York, and encouraged the Commissioners to host one of their meetings at Women’s Rights National Historical Park and to visit other sites throughout the state that mark New York’s legacy in the women’s suffrage movement.

“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,” wrote Senator Gillibrand. “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, Harriet Tubman, and other champions of New York who played a pivotal role in the fight for women’s rights.”

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. Other sites on this trail include the home of Susan B. Anthony in Rochester, the Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged in Auburn, and the Matilda Joslyn Gage House in Fayetteville.  

Gillibrand was an original cosponsor of the Women's Suffrage Centennial Commission Act, which established the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission. A meeting in Seneca Falls would help recognize New York’s role in the women’s suffrage movement and pay tribute to the suffragists who played pivotal roles in fighting for, and ultimately succeeding in gaining, women’s right to vote.

The full text of Senator Gillibrand’s letter can 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