The Durham Museum opens an exhibit this weekend that explores the history of the suffrage movement in the region.
The exhibit, “We Want the Vote: Women’s Suffrage on the Great Plains,” opens Saturday and runs through May 26.
The suffrage effort started in 1848 in New York. In 1919, Congress passed the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote.
Nebraska and the region played an important role in the voting rights movement, said David Kreidler, associate curator at the Durham.
In 1882, Omaha hosted the 14th Annual National Women’s Suffrage Association meeting. A suffrage campaign that same year in Nebraska attracted national leaders like Susan B. Anthony, he said.
Several national suffrage leaders had Iowa connections, including Amelia Bloomer, the namesake of the bloomer and a resident of Council Bluffs from 1852 until her death in 1894.
Suffrage leaders were drawn to the region because opposition was not as strong as it was in the East, he said.
“The leaders saw the West as this fertile new ground,” he said.
Women and some men in the region believed that woman had proved they were equals because as pioneers they helped settle the Great Plains, he said.
The exhibit includes pieces from the Durham’s collection along with artifacts and images from local and national partners, such as the National Archives, Library of Congress, State Historical Society of Iowa and Nebraska State Historical Society.
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