Celebrating the Nineteenth Amendment -- She Changed the World: North Carolina Women Breaking Barriers

Monday, August 24, 2020

August 2020: Centennial of the Adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution 

2020 marks a ground-breaking victory in women’s long fight to gain legal, social, economic, and personal status in the United States. It’s the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment. On June 4, 1919, the United States Congress passed the resolution which became the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Then after more than a year of debate in legislatures across the country, ratification was secured on August 18, 1920. On that day, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment, ensuring that it became the law of the land.  

There are many more founding events in the march for women’s self-determination. Some of these events are told in family and community histories and others are more widely known. Women in all walks of life across the country and the world break barriers every day. Some barriers are broken personally and quietly. Others are broken more visibly and loudly. Below you’ll find a wealth of starting points to explore this history – from educational readings, to teacher resources, and primary source and artifact collections. 

Displays the closing article of the resolution and signatures from the Speaker of the House of Representatives and Vice President of the United States.

Learn about how North Carolina women have changed their world! 

North Carolina resources for teachers, students and everyone learning at home 

Screenshot of the interactive timeline featuring an image of suffragists behind introductory text.

Explore Primary Source and Artifact Collections 

Looking Ahead 

This is a foundational moment in women’s struggle to break gender, social, and domestic barriers.  Gaining the vote and access to political leadership has propelled women in the march toward equity and equality.  Over the past 100 years, they have seen advancement in all areas of public and private life. Women have marched forward in educational and professional achievement, legal and financial affairs, domestic relationships, and beyond. 

Although the amendment extended the vote to women under the Constitution, it did not ensure voting rights or access to the ballot for all. In many states, a combination of racist laws, discriminatory practices, and even violence kept many from the polls. This forced exclusion extended to Black men and women, Native Americans, Latino Americans and Asian Americans. It would take up to 45 more years until voting rights were secured for all. And still the fight for voting rights and equity continues today. It reminds us that the march toward an inclusive democracy has farther to go. 

Kelly Agan, Digital Projects Librarian