Women's suffrage, voting rights rally draws crowd

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  • Austin Montgomery/Beloit Daily News Around 300 people came out for a special march and performance in Janesville marking the 100th anniversary of the state ratifying the 19th amendment granting women the right to vote.

  • 1

    Austin Montgomery/Beloit Daily News From left: Becky Johnson, of Janesville, Debbie McCann, of Beloit, Pat Thom, of Janesville, and Marilyn Leach, of Janesville, wore white to Monday's celebration of Wisconsin ratifying the 19th Amendment to honor past members of the women's suffrage movement.

  • 2

    Austin Montgomery/Beloit Daily News Lois Smith as Susan B. Anthony recounted the longtime women's rights figure in Anthony's own words with a historical speech on women's equality before the 1876 centennial of the country.

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    Austin Montgomery/Beloit Daily News Francis E.C. Willard, played here by Jan Knutson, grew up in Janesville and later returned to the area later in life. The key suffrage fighter as part of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union.

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    Austin Montgomery/Beloit Daily News Lucy Beckord as Lavinia Goodell told those in attendnace at the 100th anniversary celebration of Wisconsin ratifying the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote about Goodell's struggle before she pursued her law degree. Goodell was the first woman elected to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

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    Austin Montgomery/Beloit Daily News The "100 Years Votes For Women" brought together around 300 supporters on Monday in Janesville as the Wisconsin League of Women Voters helped organize a special program recognizing key suffrage figures following a brief march to the Janesville Performing Arts Center.

  • Austin Montgomery/Beloit Daily News Around 300 people came out for a special march and performance in Janesville marking the 100th anniversary of the state ratifying the 19th amendment granting women the right to vote.

  • 1

    Austin Montgomery/Beloit Daily News From left: Becky Johnson, of Janesville, Debbie McCann, of Beloit, Pat Thom, of Janesville, and Marilyn Leach, of Janesville, wore white to Monday's celebration of Wisconsin ratifying the 19th Amendment to honor past members of the women's suffrage movement.

  • 2

    Austin Montgomery/Beloit Daily News Lois Smith as Susan B. Anthony recounted the longtime women's rights figure in Anthony's own words with a historical speech on women's equality before the 1876 centennial of the country.

  • 3

    Austin Montgomery/Beloit Daily News Francis E.C. Willard, played here by Jan Knutson, grew up in Janesville and later returned to the area later in life. The key suffrage fighter as part of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union.

  • 4

    Austin Montgomery/Beloit Daily News Lucy Beckord as Lavinia Goodell told those in attendnace at the 100th anniversary celebration of Wisconsin ratifying the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote about Goodell's struggle before she pursued her law degree. Goodell was the first woman elected to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

  • 5

    Austin Montgomery/Beloit Daily News The "100 Years Votes For Women" brought together around 300 supporters on Monday in Janesville as the Wisconsin League of Women Voters helped organize a special program recognizing key suffrage figures following a brief march to the Janesville Performing Arts Center.

JANESVILLE - "Votes for women!"

Around 300 people gathered in Janesville on Monday to celebrate and honor key figures of the women's suffrage movement over the last 100 years, marking Wisconsin ratifying the 19th Amendment on June 10, 1919.

Supporters at Monday's event made signs with phrases from the late 1800s at a time when women were not allowed to vote, before marching to the Janesville Performing Arts Center for a special program.

With the Janesville chapter of the Wisconsin League of Women Voters, Beloit Clerk-Treasurer Lori Stottler helped bring historic figures to life by writing a living history dramatization that recognized 20 key women's suffrage leaders.

The program started with a brief history of voting rights in the United States and had actresses stand in as the figures each were honored. National women's suffrage heroines like Susan B. Anthony and Ida B. Wells, and statewide figures were recognized including Lavina Goodell, Wisconsin's first Supreme Court justice, and local suffragist Frances Willard, and Sen. Tammy Baldwin, the first woman elected to Congress from Wisconsin.

Local women in key public office were also honored, including Rock County Circuit Judge Barbara McCrory, who was the first woman elected as a Rock County judge in 2012.

Through rare photos from the state and local historical societies, and hours of researching the suffrage movement, Stottler said the creative process is inspiring.

"It's my hope that people will not take our voting rights for granted," Stottler said. "We just aren't done yet. It's good to respect and treasure the past to have the energy to go forward."

Stottler said she hopes the event helped inform young people.

"We wanted to show the women who were imprisoned and oppressed. We wanted to showcase their struggles," Stottler added. "They really took this road for us."

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