History on display in Fergus Falls

By Tom Hintgen

Otter Tail County Correspondent

County residents have the opportunity, through the end of November, to learn more about the suffrage movement that led to women obtaining the right to vote. An exhibit can be seen Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the county museum in Fergus Falls.

The exhibit is displayed through the efforts of the Otter Tail County Historical Society and the League of Women Voters.

Women in the United States, after a long struggle, finally had the right to vote in 1920, shortly after the end of World War I.

The women’s suffrage movement took place over several decades. The movement was an effort to win the right to vote for women in the United States.

On May 21, 1919, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Two weeks later the U.S. Senate also approved the amendment.

Another major hurdle remained for women to finally attain the right to vote. Ratification was needed from three-fourths of the states.

That goal was reached on August 18, 1920, when Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment. 

U.S. Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby officially certified the 19th Amendment on August 26, 1920.

“This changed the face of the American electorate forever,” says Chris Schuelke, executive director of the Otter Tail County Historical Society.

John F. Kennedy was elected president of the United States in 1960, on the 40th anniversary of women in this country receiving the right to vote.