A Baltimore County college is about to be honored as part of a national campaign to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the women’s right to vote. Goucher College officials are scheduled to unveil a highway marker Friday that commemorates the role many of the school’s students and educators played in the hard-fought struggle for women’s suffrage more than a century ago. At a period in time when many Americans still fiercely opposed the idea of women voting, students and faculty members at Goucher — then an all-women’s college in Baltimore City — took part in protests, gave speeches, invited national figures to campus and attended controversial marches in the nation’s capital. Other marker sites in the state include Westminster, where an influential Maryland suffrage group, the Just Government League, was established in 1909; Hyattsville, where a caravan of suffragettes in 1913 stopped on its way from New York City to Washington, where the women would present Congress with a petition containing 75,000 signatures; and Garrett County, where members of the Just Government League in 1914 crisscrossed the area to enlist the backing of rural women. But Diana Bailey, director of the Women’s Heritage Center, said her group and others realized early on that many of the sites important to suffrage in Maryland stood nowhere near state highways. In Baltimore, for example, dozens of African-American women — excluded from membership in the mostly white, larger suffrage organizations — met in private homes and churches to support the cause. A Baltimore judge sued to overturn the 19th Amendment, for example, a case that was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1922. Members of the Goucher community were prime examples of that work, she said, including Lilian Welsh, a professor of physiology and hygiene who is known to have inspired students to take part in suffrage causes. The Goucher delegation of students was the largest single college group to stand in protest during the White House rally. Presenters will include Goucher professor of history emerita Jean H. Baker, Morgan State University archivist Ida Jones, and Beverly Carter, the archivist of the DuBois Circle literary club in Baltimore, many of whose members were active in the African-American suffrage movement.
You May Also Like