Photo Courtesy of Greater Lansing Michigan Site
In Michigan, women petitioned the legislature for the ballot as early as 1855. After the Civil War, women won limited school board suffrage. Suffragists continually fought for expanded voting rights but saw repeated state constitutional amendments and ballot initiatives defeated over the next decades.
During a special session in June 1919, the Michigan Legislature became, on June 10, the third state in the nation to officially ratify the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (which had only been given final Congressional approval a few days earlier on June 4). In a show of overwhelming support, the all-male legislature voted unanimously for its ratification.
The amendment reads "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
Not all women obtained the right to vote with the passing of the 19th Amendment in 1920. For instance, in 1920 Native American groups were yet to be granted U.S. citizenship which prevented Native American women and men from voting. Moreover, there were other barriers that women experienced that kept them from gaining access to vote such as literacy tests, poll taxes, and other suppression tactics that disproportionately affected women of color.
While all women theoretically gained voting access in 1920, Black Women were effectively banned until the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
National Museum of African American History and Culture