We invite you to join us Sunday, January 12 at 2pm as we join with Better Days 2020 as we celebrate the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment with a free Script-In-Hand Series reading of Jenifer Nii’s 2013 play SUFFRAGE. Following are a few thoughts from Katherine Kitterman, Historical Director of Better Days 2020. She will lead a post-show discussion with actors April Fossen & Sarah Young, director Cheryl Cluff and playwright Jenifer Nii. Click here for free-but-required tickets.

2020 marks the 150th anniversary of Utah women’s first votes.

When Utah women went to the polls in 1870, they became the first in the United States to cast ballots under a women’s suffrage law. But as Jenifer Nii’s SUFFRAGE explores, Utah women’s votes were entangled in the political conflict over the Mormon practice of polygamy. From the very beginning, lawsuits and congressional legislation threatened to repeal Utah women’s voting rights. 

Utah women like Ruth fought back. Supported by Mormon church leaders, they petitioned lawmakers and built relationships with national suffrage leaders. But they were ultimately unsuccessful. The Edmunds Act disenfranchised polygamists in 1882, and in 1887 the Edmunds-Tucker Act revoked suffrage for all Utah women, regardless of marital status or religion.

Undaunted, suffragists organized the Utah Woman Suffrage Association and succeeded in restoring women’s voting rights in Utah’s state constitution. In 2020, we honor what they achieved, remember those who were left behind, and resolve to build on their legacy of leadership.

Better Days 2020 is a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to popularizing Utah women’s history. We believe that by exploring the legacy of our past, we make Utah a better place for women in the future.  Follow us on social media @betterdays2020 to join in statewide celebrations of Utah’s suffrage history throughout the year.

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