Women's Suffrage Leaders (Wiki Commons)
It's a thing we may all take for granted sometimes. Either we line up at a or are mailed a form. We fill in a few bubbles, punch a few holes, or complete some lines. We may even participate using a touchable screen. In 1918, the U.S. government took the first steps to granting universal suffrage (the right to vote) with the 19th amendment! On August 18, 1920 it was ratified. This Ride Story was designed to take you through Waterloo, beginning and ending at the Grout Museum which has a display on the 100th Anniversary of the 19th amendment.
The movement, with growing support through the early 1900s started in the west, with a few U.S. states allowing women the right to vote before gaining popular approval after World War I. While this change added 26 million voters, many women were left out of the process until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which removed restrictions that primarily affected Black, Indigenous and Women of Color.
"Law Abiding" Suffragettes with their bikes. (Wiki Commons)
Susan B. Anthony, abolitionist and one of the most notable leaders of the suffrage movement also believed biking was key to a woman's true independence.
I think [the bicycle] has done more to emancipate women than any one thing in the world. I rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a bike. It gives her a feeling of self-reliance and independence the moment she takes her seat; and away she goes, the picture of untrammelled womanhood.
Suffragettes with their bikes. (Wiki Commons)
Suffragettes across the world used bikes to disseminate literature, participate in civil disobedience, find freedom from social mores they found at odds with their true wants and desires.
We hope as you get out on your bike for our Virtual RAGBRAI you consider your own independence when you've got a bike beneath you. Ride to your local voting precinct or polling place. Find your ballot drop box and snap a photo or two. Consider what it means to join the other 152,666,000 Americans registered to vote in participating in a process so core to who we are as a country. And when you vote in your next election ... maybe ride your bike to get there.
Enjoy the Grout Museum’s exhibit, Remember the Ladies: The Path to Suffrage virtually. RAGBRAI riders will receive a special promo code the week of the virtual ride for $5 admission. Anyone who uses the code during the week of RAGBRAI 2020 will receive a commemorative VOTES FOR WOMEN patch.