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Ratification of the 19th Amendment: Timeline Map
Item 36 of 48

Virginia had possibly the largest suffrage organization of the southern states, but the state legislature remained anti-suffrage. Virginia rejected bills about women's suffrage in 1912, 1914, and 1916, and voted to reject the 19th Amendment on February 12, 1920. Virginia did not ratify the 19th Amendment until February 21, 1952.


The Virginia Senate voted to reject ratification on 6 February 1920. RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 8 February 1920.

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Equal Suffrage League of Richmond

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Equal Suffrage League rally at the Virginia State Capitol in support of suffrage in 1916

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Richmond Evening Journal, June 5, 1919, after the US Congress passed the 19th Amendment and sent it to the states for ratification.

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"Equal Suffrage and the Negro Vote" from the Equal Suffrage League of Virginia

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Many of the arguments against women's suffrage were connected to fears of African American women voting.

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Virginia anti-suffrage poster

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Poster from the Virginia Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage (1917)

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Virginia anti-suffragists campaigned against the 19th Amendment prior to the 1920 ratification vote by connecting suffrage leaders to African Americans and the idea of racial equality.

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Mary Mason Anderson Williams, president of the Virginia Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage publicly thanked the House of Delegates for rejecting the Nineteenth Amendment. RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 13 February 1920.

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African American voters in Ettrick, VA. Due to segregation, African American women were excluded from suffrage organizations and the Virginia League of Women Voters. Black women formed the Virginia Negro Women's League of Voters after the ratification of the 19th Amendment.

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There was an attempt to begin a women’s suffrage movement in Virginia in the 1870s but it did not gain traction. The state did not see an effective campaign for women’s voting rights until Richmond women established the Equal Suffrage League of Virginia in 1909. Suffragists campaigned at public events, canvassed door to door, and enlisted allies to form a Men’s Equal Suffrage League in 1912. Suffrage support was rather large for a southern state; by 1919 the membership of the Equal Suffrage Leage was 32,000 which was likely the largest such organization in the south. Between 1912 and 1916 Virginia women succeeded in bringing suffrage to the General Assembly three times, but the Virginia legislature remained staunchly anti-suffrage and did not grant any suffrage rights.

Similar to many of the southern states, race was a complicating factor in the Virginia women’s suffrage movement. The anti-suffrage movement was very strong in Virginia with the Women’s Anti-Suffrage Association forming in 1870. Many of the anti-suffrage arguments centered on fears that women’s suffrage would allow black women to also vote. Virginia suffragists addressed these fears by arguing that current laws would prevent black women from voting in the same ways that black men were prevented from voting, and that adding white women to the voting rolls would strengthen white supremacy. African American women were excluded from most suffrage organizations and formed their own within Virginia.

In February 1920 Virginia rejected the 19th Amendment. On February 6, the Senate voted against ratification 24-16 and the House defeated ratification 62-22 on February 12, 1920. Several delegates stated that they were not necessarily against women’s suffrage but considered the amendment in opposition to the right of states to maintain regulations for voting.

Virginia finally ratified the 19th Amendment on February 21, 1952.

McDaid, Jennifer. "Woman Suffrage in Virginia." Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities. Accessed July 21, 2021. https://encyclopediavirginia.org/entries/woman-suffrage-in-virginia/.

"Virginia and the 19th Amendment." National Park Service. August 23, 2019. Accessed July 21, 2021. https://www.nps.gov/articles/virginia-women-s-history.htm.

"Virginia's General Assembly and the Nineteenth Amendment." The Uncommonwealth: Voices from the Library of Virginia. February 12, 2020. Accessed July 21, 2021. https://uncommonwealth.virginiamemory.com/blog/2020/02/12/virginias-general-assembly-and-the-nineteenth-amendment/.

"Women's Suffrage in Virginia." Virginia Places. Accessed July 21, 2021. http://www.virginiaplaces.org/government/womenvote.html.

"Women's Suffrage in Virginia." W & M Women's Law Society. Accessed July 21, 2021. https://wmpeople.wm.edu/site/page/wmws/womenssuffrageinvirginia.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

"Virginia's General Assembly and the Nineteenth Amendment." The Uncommonwealth: Voices from the Library of Virginia. February 12, 2020. Accessed July 21, 2021. https://uncommonwealth.virginiamemory.com/blog/2020/02/12/virginias-general-assembly-and-the-nineteenth-amendment/.

McDaid, Jennifer. "Woman Suffrage in Virginia." Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities. Accessed July 21, 2021. https://encyclopediavirginia.org/entries/woman-suffrage-in-virginia/.

"Women's Suffrage in Virginia." Virginia Places. Accessed July 21, 2021. http://www.virginiaplaces.org/government/womenvote.html.

"Women's Suffrage in Virginia." Virginia Places. Accessed July 21, 2021. http://www.virginiaplaces.org/government/womenvote.html.

McDaid, Jennifer. "Woman Suffrage in Virginia." Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities. Accessed July 21, 2021. https://encyclopediavirginia.org/entries/woman-suffrage-in-virginia/.

"Women's Suffrage in Virginia." Virginia Places. Accessed July 21, 2021. http://www.virginiaplaces.org/government/womenvote.html.

McDaid, Jennifer. "Woman Suffrage in Virginia." Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities. Accessed July 21, 2021. https://encyclopediavirginia.org/entries/woman-suffrage-in-virginia/.

"Women's Suffrage in Virginia." Virginia Places. Accessed July 21, 2021. http://www.virginiaplaces.org/government/womenvote.html.

"Women's Suffrage in Virginia." Virginia Places. Accessed July 21, 2021. http://www.virginiaplaces.org/government/womenvote.html.

"Virginia's General Assembly and the Nineteenth Amendment." The Uncommonwealth: Voices from the Library of Virginia. February 12, 2020. Accessed July 21, 2021. https://uncommonwealth.virginiamemory.com/blog/2020/02/12/virginias-general-assembly-and-the-nineteenth-amendment/.

McDaid, Jennifer. "Woman Suffrage in Virginia." Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities. Accessed July 21, 2021. https://encyclopediavirginia.org/entries/woman-suffrage-in-virginia/.