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GALVESTON Today marks the 90th anniversary of Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby s certification of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote, and Galveston women played important roles in the women s suffrage movement in Texas.

The Daily News Magazine Section of May 7, 1916, stated the issues that interested women were child labor laws, opinions on the liquor problem and better laws for women most importantly the right to vote.

The 1900 Storm opened the door for women to help reconstruct Galveston after one of the nation s biggest national disasters, according to the book Women, Culture and Community by Elizabeth Hayes Turner.

The disaster sparked civic activism among women, who founded the Women s Health Protective Association, the Galveston Equal Suffrage Association and the Young Women s Christian Association.

According to the book, these three associations improved health of the island, sought to help working women, and challenged men for the right to vote.

The Galveston Equal Suffrage Association was founded in 1912.

Minnie Fisher Cunningham became president of both Galveston and Texas suffrage associations.

According to Turner s book, Cunningham was important in the Wednesday Club, a group that represented cultured and literate women.

When Cunningham became president of the Texas Woman Suffrage Association, she resigned as president of the Galveston Equal Suffrage Association, according to the Galveston Daily News May 23, 1915.

The first vice president, Dr. Ethel Lyon Heard, became chief executive of the Galveston Equal Suffrage Association, taking over Cunningham s duties.

Another prominent Galveston activist was Cornelia Branch Stone, who was first vice president of the Texas Federation of Women s Clubs, which also promoted the idea that women should be active in political and reform movements.

Bettie Ballinger was the first vice president of the Galveston Equal Suffrage Association. She became president of the Woman s Aid Society and was an active participant in the Johanna Runge Free Kindergarten.

Ballinger also helped found the Wednesday Club and later became president.

In April of 1915, an article in The Daily News outlined plans of a suffrage day on May 1 with events throughout the United States.

Members of the Galveston Equal Suffrage Association were involved. Mrs. J.G. Flynn, Mrs. B.J. Cunningham and Mrs. G. Scott Shannon planned to have speechmakers in automobiles downtown.

Mrs. Elizabeth F. Fain and other Galveston leaders arranged for the state suffragist convention at the conference as well.

In Women, Culture and Community, Turner describes the women s suffrage parade on July 11, 1916, with the women in Galveston parading down Market Street with the Eighth Cotton Carnival.

The parade featured 21 floats, 19 women s organizations and two squads of mounted police. The Daily News called this the most successful parade ever staged in the city.

This story was brought to you thanks to khou.com s partnership with The Galveston County Daily News.

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