Shall Not Be Denied: The Library of Congress’s Suffragette Exhibit

Courtesy of Kat Kaderabek

 

By Kat Kaderabek 

To commemorate the 100th year anniversary of the 19th Amendment, the Library of Congress has opened an exhibit entitled, “Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote” to honor the suffragettes who tirelessly worked in the pursuit of women’s equal rights. The exhibit opened in June of 2019 and will remain available to the public until September of 2020. 

While the exhibit highlights the work of well-known suffragists such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, it also shares the spotlight with other notable women such as Lucy Stone, Mary Church Terrell, and Harriet Stanton Blatch, weaving together an inclusive and informative exhibit. Of these women, the Library of Congress officially states “their collective story is one of courage, perseverance, savvy, creativity, and hope that continues to inspire women today.” 

The exhibit traces the suffragist movement back to the Seneca Falls convention of 1848 through the next seventy years of avocation and perseverance by various waves of suffragists. Artifacts include a letter from Abigail Adams written in 1799, a rare printed version of the “Declaration of Sentiments” from the Seneca Falls convention, a sculpture of advocate Susan B. Anthony, and an original broadside of the Declaration of Rights for Women distributed in Philadelphia in 1876 on stage to Vice President Thomas Ferry.  

“[The exhibit] was one of the most inspiring and emotional experiences I have had while touring DC’s buildings and museums,” said the president of Women of CUA, Joslyn Felicijan, when the members of the organization visited the exhibit. 

To Felicijan, what made the exhibit so inspiring was the pride it showcased in both gender and ethnical diversity, within the female gender that worked alongside one another for women’s right to vote. 

The end of the exhibit highlighted what Felicijan called “trailblazing women” from all political parties in their ongoing fight for equal representation in society.  

“The exhibit made me and the other members of our club proud of our femininity, tenacity, and stubbornness to continue pushing for gender inequality in any way we can on and off-campus,” Felicijan said. 

The vice president of Women of CUA, Nadia Carlino, enjoyed the video of “firsts” that illuminated all that women accomplished throughout the movement, calling it a “beautiful tribute that [she] wishe[s] was longer.” Full of history and life, the exhibit calls to mind the true power of females when united as one. 

Admission to the exhibit is free and worthwhile to check out. As both an important part of history and a relevant topic in society today, the “Shall Not Be Denied” exhibit can be critical in finding a solution to the still-prevalent inequalities within society today.

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