In 1920, after 72 years of struggling to gain the right to vote, American women knew the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution would soon be ratified. Almost 2,000 women from around the country gathered at a “victory convention” of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.
On February 14, 1920, they voted to organize the National League of Women Voters. Then, they decided that the state groups in the NAWSA should become nonpartisan state Leagues of Women Voters. Every League would have the same purposes as the national League – “to foster education in citizenship and support improved legislation.”
Thus, the League of Women Voters of Oregon also was founded on February 14, 1920. Effie Simmons from Portland, Oregon, was elected to be on the first National LWV Board. (Source: More Power Than We Knew, A History of the League of Women Voters of Oregon:1920-2012, pages 15-16)
We are celebrating some other significant anniversaries this month too. February 14th is also the 161st anniversary of the day Oregon became a state. February 3rd was the 150th anniversary of the adoption of the 15th Amendment, stating that the right to vote shall not be denied on account of race. The League is still working throughout the U.S. to protect the right of all citizens to vote.
We have created a 5-minute video about the League’s history and how we are using our strengths as we prepare for the future. View the video by clicking the play arrow below: