To commemorate the 90th anniversary of women's right to vote in Mississippi, the Archives & Special Collections created this digital collection in 2010 to feature a selection of Mississippi Woman Suffrage Association (MWSA) material. Established in 1897, the organization sought "to use every available means in our power to obtain for the women of Mississippi the right of franchise." The twenty-five items in the collection document their efforts in growing the association, printing and distributing literature, and proposing legislation on issues of particular interest to females.
The digital collection includes nine printed reports on the organization's annual conferences between the years 1897 and 1917 as well as several other publications such as MWSA presidential communications and constitutions. The collection also contains the handwritten minutes of the Equity League of Jackson, Mississippi between the years 1911 and 1916, as well as two pamphlets promoting the public speaking career of Mississippi suffragist Belle Kearney (in 1922, Kearney became the first female senator elected to the Mississippi legislature).
Despite all the work of the MWSA, the state never extended suffrage to women. It would take federal action to gain the right to vote for women with the addition of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920. Mississippi officially ratified the Nineteenth Amendment on 22 March 1984.
Related Resources: The MWSA publications and the handwritten Equity League minutes are part of the much larger Lily Thompson Collection. Lily Thompson was an active member and leader in both of these organizations, and the collection contains more suffrage-related material not included in this digital collection.
For more informational on political holdings at the Archives & Special Collections, consult the Politics & Government Subject Guide and the Modern Political Archives website.
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