Sunday, July 15, 2012

1970: The Year Women Finally Got the Right to Vote

Editor's note: I was in college in the 1980s and by then I thought discrimination and prejudice against women were things of the past (well at least for white women anyway). I wasn't aware of it happening to me often. But during the times throughout my life when I knew it was happening I felt deep shock, anger, and a visceral hurt, although I never expressed it. Instead I'd say to myself: "stay calm, confident, poised, proud, don't get defensive, and find a way around this". Our Contributor, Debby Yoder,  gave me another shock this week but this time my reaction was: "My God, I had no idea!"  Her fascinating and informative post on women's suffrage in Georgia illustrates the very long road to voting rights for women in this state, a battle that didn't end until 1970.

Posted by Debby Yoder, ATHENS, GA -- Many people think women received the right to vote in 1920, with the passage of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution. While it's well known that racial barriers to voting persisted, little known is that fact that it wasn't until 1970 that Georgia gave women the right to vote. Think about it: 1970, the year of Apollo 13, mounting opposition to the Vietnam War, and the Kent State shootings -- not the 50 years earlier like you read in history books. Basically the Georgia legislature voted against the 19th Amendment on a number of occassions. It was finally ratified in 1970, not too many years before Georgia's own Jimmy Carter became President.

There is a long and complicated history to the suffrage movement and it is now being shared with the world as part of The University of Georgia’s Special Collections Library. In fact, 2010 marked the 90th anniversary of the movement.   The collection is available to researchers everywhere . It includes a variety of items from both sides of the movement For example did you know the original 99ers were those opposed to women voting? The Georgia Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage believed granting women the right to vote would lead to “the final undoing of our government” and produced a pamphlet entitled Unchaining the Demons of the Lower World: A Petition of Ninety-Nine Per Cent Against Suffrage. The pamphlet is available along with writings and artifacts from Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth. It’s an interesting peek into an era many of us know little about.

Debby Yoder is a Social Shutter Contributor and is working on her Bachelor's Degree in Sociology at Georgia State University. She comes from a long line of photographers -- including her father -- and enjoys documenting a variety social issues and scenes. She can be contacted at


  1. As a teacher at the University of Georgia, I look forward to sharing this with my students. Perhaps it will reenforce the importance of getting out and voting! I imagine if there were more women in politics and voting, this wouldn't have taken nearly as long to ratify!

  2. That's an important point! Thank for reading Social Shutter!