“I believe the Constitution of the United States gives me every right and privilege to which every other citizen is entitled; for while the Constitution gives the States the right to regulate suffrage, it nowhere gives them power to prevent it.”   —  Virginia Minor, St. Louis activist, and suffragist 1824-1894

Voting is an instrumental and fundamental right; one that so many people strived to attain. But the fight for suffrage was waged far before 1920 and extends even to the present day.

August 2020 marks 100 years since the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which granted U.S. women the right to vote. Celebrating this historic event, the Missouri History Museum curated a landmark exhibit, Beyond The Ballot: St. Louis and Suffrage, detailing the vital role women played in St. Louis’s history.

While women have long been portrayed as secondary figures in the development of the city, this exhibit demonstrates the integral part women played in its sustentation and growth over the years.

CWCJ at Moneta is dedicated to helping bring women’s stories to their rightful place in history. We are delighted to be a sponsor of this special exhibition, and can’t wait to explore its significance with our readers today.

A Brief Look At Suffrage In St. Louis

St. Louis has a long and storied history in the fight for suffrage. Suffragists in the city have been linked to some of the earliest activity for the cause anywhere in the country.

Back in 1866, women petitioned the Missouri State Legislature to remove the word “male” from voting language in the State Constitution. Their claim was denied, but that rejection didn’t come close to halting progress.

Prominent suffragist Virginia Minor took matters into her own hands. Armed with confidence and a point to prove, she strode into the Old Court House determined to register to vote. When denied, she filed a lawsuit (with the help of her husband) that went all the way to the U.S Supreme Court. Even though she lost her case, 1872 became a monumental year for suffrage activity in the city.

The National Suffrage Convention convened in St. Louis in 1872, which sparked another wave of activism and resilience. The St. Louis Equal Suffrage League formed in 1910; it’s 50 founding members determined to continue the good work done by so many before them.

When the Democratic National Convention came to St. Louis in 1916, protesters attired in white dresses adorned with yellow sashes and golden parasols lined Locust Street to bring further awareness to the cause. In 2016, the centennial anniversary commemoration of the “Golden Lane” was honored and recognized by women all over the city. These are just a few critical events that set the stage for victory in 1920.

Women in St. Louis fought, rallied, and protested day in and day out for the right to vote. Their victory inspired the Missouri History Museum to help bring their stories, accomplishments, and activism to life.

Financial planning and wealth management are predominantly male-dominated industries. The celebration and recognition of prominent women is something our team’s founding Partner Diane Compardo is incredibly passionate about, and this exhibition does just that.

The Significance of Beyond The Ballot Exhibition

Women securing the right to vote altered the course of history. But the women of St. Louis didn’t stop there. They worked to clean up hospitals, start businesses, assist in war efforts, organize workers, practice medicine and law, as well as fight for the rights to their own children.

Given the scope of women’s position in the city, it’s easy to see why the museum’s efforts travel beyond the ballot box.

The exhibit not only celebrates women’s role in the suffrage movement but also their work in sustaining the city at large. It runs through March 20, 2022.

As we enter an election season this fall, it’s essential to remember, especially in this time of political division, how hard others worked to secure the vote, and the prominent part St. Louis played in that story.

Our foremothers envisioned and created a reality where women not only vote, but use their voices at all levels of government, business, and society. In 2020, Kamala Harris, California State Senator, became the first woman of color nominated for Vice President on a major party ticket. Her efforts and the efforts of many other women set the stage for female empowerment, leadership, and representation in our country.

How Sponsorship Aligns With Our Team Values

CWCJ considers all the women of Moneta to be represented in this sponsorship. For us, it is vital that our team be part of this conversation and support for groundbreaking initiatives like this exhibit.

Beyond The Ballot is “such an important exhibition for our community. We are able to reach a broader audience due to your generosity,” said Toi Hatcher, Major Gift Officer for Museum Exhibitions, Programming, and Collections at the Missouri Historical Society. “We were so moved that you had your Moneta logo redesigned to fit the exhibition, which I shared with our president, Dr. Frances Levine. She was truly touched by this.”

We are honored to take part in celebrating the 100th year of the 19th amendment, and the incredible legacy of the women who helped get us there. Check out our media page for more information on the impact Moneta has on our local community.

Sources: