From the first days of the movement, long before 1848 and Seneca Falls, Ohio and Ohioans led the nation in campaigning for equal rights and opportunities for women.


1828

Frances Wright becomes the first woman in the United States to speak in public, launching what would become an international speaking career in the Hamilton County (Ohio) courthouse. An abolitionist and woman's rights activist dubbed "The Red Harlot of Infidelity," Wright persisted despite harsh criticism and threats of physical violence.


1848

Less than 2 months after his participation in the Seneca Falls Convention, Frederick Douglass led the National Convention of Black Freemen in Cleveland, Ohio, which became the very first national convention to permit participation by women when a "Mrs. Sanford" was allowed to address the participants.


1850

Activists in Salem, Ohio host the Ohio Women's Convention, the first convention to be run and organized entirely by women.


1851

Sojourner Truth delivers her "Ain't I a Woman?" speech at the Ohio Women's Rights Convention in Akron.


1869

Inspired by events he witnessed at the 1850 Ohio Women's Convention at Salem as a young man, John Allen Campbell, first territorial governor of Wyoming, signs into law a bill establishing Wyoming as the first place in the United States to extend equal suffrage to women.


1869

The American Woman Suffrage Association is formed at a meeting in Cleveland, Ohio.


1870

Victoria Woodhull of Homer, Ohio becomes the first female candidate for president of the United States.


1872

The Liberal Republican Party, formed in 1870, holds its only national convention in Cincinnati in 1872. Susan B. Anthony and Laura De Force Gordon ask to be admitted.


1876

The Republican party holds its national convention in Cincinnati.Frederick Douglass addresses the convention on the first day (June 14). Sarah J. Spencer of the National Woman Suffrage Association is permitted 10 minutes to address the convention. A memorial written by Susan B. Anthony is presented.


1880

The Democratic party holds its national convention in Cincinnati. Susan B. Anthony is permitted to ascend to the platform, but a clerk reads the memorial from the National Woman Suffrage Association presented to the convention. National Woman Suffrage Association representatives include Matilda Joslyn Gage, Sarah Andrew Spencer, Ellen H. Sheldon, and Jane H. Spofford in addition to Anthony.


1903 to 1910

The National Woman Suffrage Association is headquartered in Warren, Ohio.


1904

Suffragist Pauline Perlmutter Steinem (grandmother to activist Gloria Steinem) is elected to the Toledo school board, possibly becoming the very first Jewish woman elected to public office in the United States.


1920

Suffragists declare Ohio as crucial to final effort for ratification in Tennessee as they seek the aid and influence of presidential candidates Warren G. Harding (Marion, Ohio) and James M. Cox (Dayton, Ohio).



Learn more about Ohio's incredible role in woman suffrage

Marking Ohio Women’s Experience & Contributions: A Woman’s Place, developed by Bari Oyler Stith, Ph.D, lists Ohio historical markers for women’s contributions throughout the state.



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Important Dates

June 4, 1919 Congress passed the 19th amendment.

June 16, 1919 Ohio became the 6th state to ratify the 19th amendment.

August 18, 1920 Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the 19th amendment, meeting the 3/4 threshold necessary for adoption.

August 26, 1920 The 19th amendment was adopted into law by the US Secretary of State.

March 22, 1984 Mississippi becomes the 48th (and final) state to ratify the 19th amendment, having first rejected the amendment on March 29, 1920.