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Women’s Equality Day celebrated across Maryland

Marylanders in multiple counties celebrated the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment affirming women’s right to vote as part of the Women’s Equality Day Celebration across Maryland (WEDC).

WEDC is a coalition of nonprofits coming together to shine a light on the many women of the Maryland suffrage movement and to bring a local Suffrage Centennial celebration to Marylanders.

The celebration was conceived to be simultaneous and state-wide with free, family friendly, nonpartisan events held in public spaces in multiple counties, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, some events were held virtually and on different days. While no longer simultaneous, all events both honored the sacrifices and successes of the suffragists and linked their historic achievement to the ongoing fight for women’s rights in ways that reflected the local flavor.

The city of Baltimore and Garrett and Prince George’s counties held in-person celebrations Aug. 28 while Allegany and Montgomery counties celebrated online Aug. 29 and Aug. 26, respectively.  All events were in adherence of all pandemic safety protocols.

The Baltimore event was held in Druid Hill Park with activities and educational experiences for all ages. Upon registration, participants were asked to vote in a special election on ballot initiatives that are current campaigns, like making Women’s Equality Day a federal holiday and passing the Equal Rights Amendment.

The exhibit hall featured displays from nine organizations, such as the very popular display on Maryland suffragists from the Maryland Women’s Heritage Center and the display about the Lillie Carroll Jackson Civil Rights Museum.

At the Baltimore NOW booth, celebrants could select a suffrage-era hat and a “Votes for Women” sash or sign and pose as a suffragist in front of a life-size photo of Baltimore suffragists in 1912. Another seven organizations provided information for distribution as more than 53 people participated, despite the threat of rain and a last-minute location change by the park.

The Garrett County event was held in Sang Run State Park, home of a recently restored historical election house, which was rededicated as part of the day’s festivities.

The event drew 125 attendees and opened with a ceremonial suffrage march to the main area with food vendors, voter registration and activities for both kids and adults. A main feature of the day was the Women’s Monologues: Maryland Suffragists, organized by AAUW-Garrett Branch. The monologues were performed by local residents portraying prominent suffragists who were residents of (or had an impact on) Garrett County, including hike leader “General” Edna Story Latimer, anti-suffragist Mary Frick Garrett and her pro-suffragist sister-in-law, Mary Elizabeth Garrett, and “suffragent” Frederick Douglass.

In Prince George’s County, the event was held at the Laurel Historical Society, which created special displays on women’s suffrage and the 19th Amendment, with a focus on suffrage history in Laurel. Twenty-five participants also had the opportunity to register to vote, sign the petition to make Women’s Equality Day a national holiday and celebrate their voice and their vote.

The Allegany County event was a film screening of “Iron Jawed Angels,” followed by a panel discussion about the movie, local suffrage history, the Equal Rights Amendment and women’s rights today.  They celebrated virtually in Montgomery County, too, with “Ted-talk” style five-minute presentations by a diverse and energetic group of speakers, including Diane Fink: Getting More Women Elected; Hana O’Looney: Voting for the First Time; Nancy Navarro: The Balancing Act of Elected Women; Amena Johnson: The Importance of Women Voting; and Amanda Brown Lierman. The History and Significance of Women’s Equality Day. Both online events had between 30 and 35 participants.

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At the Ascension St. Agnes Breast Center booth, Angela P. McIntyre, Breast Link coordinator, shared health literature. (Photo courtesy of Jean Thompson, JT Communications & Consulting)

At the Lillie Carroll Jackson Civil Rights Museum booth in Baltimore, visitors Eunice Peace, right, and her son Naim Peace made equal rights signs. (Photo courtesy of Jean Thompson, JT Communications & Consulting)

Diana M. Bailey, left, executive director of the Maryland Women’s Heritage Center (MWHC) speaks with state Del. Marlon Amprey, D-Baltimore city, as Beatrice Dane of MWHC looks on. The center has a new headquarters in Baltimore in the former Women’s Industrial Exchange building on Charles Street. (Photo courtesy of Jean Thompson, JT Communications & Consulting)

Cierra Riley, right, visits the booth of the AAUW Baltimore Branch and receives literature from Janice Zimmerman of AAUW. (Photo courtesy of Jean Thompson, JT Communications & Consulting)

Young volunteers Julea Tennyson and Erica Fugate, left and center, greet guests and visitors at the registration table. Visitor Janet Bailey, of the LaBurt Improvement Community Association in west Baltimore, signs up for the WEDC raffle. (Photo courtesy of Jean Thompson, JT Communications & Consulting)

Visitor Andrea Curley, a special assistant in the Office of the State’s Attorney’s for Baltimore City, dropped by to explore the booth of the Lillie Carroll Jackson Civil Rights Museum. (Photo courtesy of Jean Thompson, JT Communications & Consulting)

The Lillie Carroll Jackson Civil Rights Museum presented activities and history exhibits in its booth during the Women’s Equality Day Celebration in Druid Hill Park. From left, volunteer Adrienne Barnes adjusts a banner and program and education coordinator Alexis Ojeda-Brown, and museum curator Iris Leigh Barneswait to distribute information as volunteer Ennis Smith looks on. (Photo courtesy of Jean Thompson, JT Communications & Consulting)

To show support for women’s causes, several elected officials and a gubernatorial hopeful and their wives attended Women’s Equality Day in Baltimore. From left, Dawn Moore and gubernatorial hopeful Wes Moore and Jenny Hayes and Maryland Sen. Antonio Hayes, D-Baltimore city speak with constituents during the Women’s Equality Day Celebration in Druid Hill Park in Baltimore. (Photo courtesy of Jean Thompson, JT Communications & Consulting)

Girl Scout Leila Ross, left, staffed the booth of the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland. Her guests here are Karen Bond, of the University of Maryland’s Judge Alexander Williams Jr. Center for Education, Justice and Ethics and attorney Beverly Carter, an archivist of the DuBois Circle women’s organization. (Photo courtesy of Jean Thompson, JT Communications & Consulting)

T-shirts from the Clothesline Project, a visual display created to bring awareness to the issues of violence against women, are displayed across the back of the Baltimore NOW (National Organization for Women) booth. Chapter President Christine R. Valeriann gets information together to hand out to a visitor. Valeriann is also the chair of the Women’s Equality Day Celebration across Maryland. (Photo courtesy of Jean Thompson, JT Communications & Consulting)

Leila Ross takes advantage of the photo opportunity at the Baltimore NOW (National Organization for Women) booth, where visitors could select a suffrage-era hat and a “Votes for Women” sash or sign and pose as a suffragist in front of a life-size photo of Baltimore suffragists in 1912. (Photo courtesy of Jean Thompson, JT Communications & Consulting)

Members of the Civic Club of Oakland pose for a photo in front of their table during the WEDC2021 event. Each of the six women’s organizations that were part of WEDC2021 had an information table at which they provided those who stopped with materials about their organizations, an activity for people to do and some sort of goodie for sale. (Photo courtesy of WEDC-Garrett County)

Roy Musselwhite, third from left, park manager of Sang Run Parks, poses for a photo with local and state Maryland Park Service (MPS) members as they cut the ribbon at WEDC2021 on the newly renovated Sang Run Election House, which was operational from 1872 to 1972 and is the oldest election house standing in the state of Maryland. (Photo courtesy of WEDC-Garrett County)

Lori Youse, left, portrayed Mary Frick Garrett, a staunch Anti-Suffragist, and her sister-in-law, Mary Elizabeth Garrett, daughter of Garrett County’s namesake John Garrett, was portrayed by Susan Lisanti. (Photo courtesy of WEDC-Garrett County)

Betty Pritt, an AAUW-Garrett Branch member, portrayed Dr. Lorilla Tower in the Women’s Monologues. Tower lived in Oakland and was a driving force behind many community activities and organizations including the formation of the Garrett Regional Medical Center and the Ruth Enlow Library. She was also President of the Civic Club of Oakland and a colleague of the women who founded the Maryland League of Women Voters. (Photo courtesy of WEDC-Garrett County)

Cash Newman, the 9-year-old son of Garrett County resident Kym Newman, casts his vote in the 1872 Sang Run Election House. The ballot question was “Who is the woman who empowers you to use your voice?” His vote was “mom.” (Photo courtesy of WEDC-Garrett County)

Clinton Jonathan Anderson, who portrayed Frederick Douglass in the AAUW-Garrett Branch Monologues, gets a photo with Kendall Ludgwig, an AAUW member who coordinated the opening community march ceremony into the park. (Photo courtesy of WEDC-Garrett County)

Kendall Ludwig and her daughter Margot Ludwig answers the question posed at the Garrett County Commission for Women table. (Photo courtesy of WEDC-Garrett County)

AAUW-Garrett Branch President Judy Carbone stands in the doorway of 1872 Sang Run Election House, which had it’s renovation ribbon cutting ceremony at the WEDC2021 Garrett County. Carbone portrayed “General” Edna Latimer in the AAUW-Garrett Branch Monologues performed at WEDC2021. (Photo courtesy of WEDC-Garrett County)

Participants march into the park at the WEDC2021 Garrett County to open the event. Marchers sang a 1913 original Suffragist song entitled “Give the Ballot to the Mothers.” (Photo courtesy of WEDC-Garrett County)

Garrett County Commission for Women member and Retired DNR Officer Caroline Blizzard, right, posed with her young niece with a photo of the original 1914 Garrett County Suffrage Pilgrimage participants. Their march in 1914 covered 125 miles throughout Garrett County and resulted in 802 new members to the Just Government League. (Photo courtesy of WEDC-Garrett County)

Attendees at the event in Prince George’s County were snacks and giveaways at the Laurel Historical Society. (Photo courtesy of WEDC-Prince George’s County)

A book display containing titles such as “Women Of Achievement In Maryland History,” “A Vote For Women,” “Suffragists In Washington, D.C.” and “The Woman Suffrage Cook Book” and prizes for suffrage trivia line a table at the Laurel Historical Society. (Photo courtesy of WEDC-Prince George’s County)

Delysha Henry, from the Woman’s Club of Laurel, helps a visitor take the suffrage quiz at the Laurel Historical Society in Prince George’s County. (Photo courtesy of WEDC-Prince George’s County)

Delysha Henry, from the Woman’s Club of Laurel, speaks with visitors about women’s suffrage at the Laurel Historical Society in Prince George’s County. (Photo courtesy of WEDC-Prince George’s County)

Laurel Historical Society Museum Coordinator Abby Fanshaw views a suffrage poster display. (Photo courtesy of WEDC-Prince George’s County)

Laurel Historical Society Museum member and Woman’s Club member Denise Redmond and LHS Museum Coordinator Abby Fanshaw help set up the posters for the display. (Photo courtesy of WEDC-Prince George’s County)

Ann Bennett, executive director of Laurel Historical Society, poses in period costume with the suffrage pop-up exhibit. (Photo courtesy of WEDC-Prince George’s County)