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City Council to honor 100th anniversary of women's suffrage in state

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SEPTEMBER 27, 2011

At its meeting Tuesday evening, the Berkeley City Council will consider a proclamation celebrating the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote in California.

According to the proclamation, the council will recognize Oct. 10 as the 100th anniversary of women suffrage in California and Oct. 30 as the 100th anniversary of the formation of the League of Women Voters of Berkeley, Albany and Emeryville. Councilmembers Linda Maio, Susan Wengraf and Laurie Capitelli sponsored the item.

“These anniversaries remind us that this successful, historic effort by courageous and resolute citizens of all races and origins dedicated to the ideal of true democracy is cause for celebration, education and promotion,” the proclamation reads.

California women were among the first in the country to be granted suffrage — they secured the right to vote in 1911, nine years before the national constitutional amendment was adopted in 1920.

The city of Berkeley was the largest northern California city to pass the amendment.

Nancy Bickel, a member of the league, said the original vote for women’s suffrage in the early 20th century was a result of door-to-door canvassing by dozens of volunteers.

“The campaign held large meetings in public places, small meetings in homes, and drove cars all over town,” she said in an email. “Young women suffragists from San Francisco stopped in every town. Men gathered around, and they spoke to them about why women should have the right to vote.”

Bickel said she believes young people are not aware of the many fights that gradually expanded the groups of people who had the right to vote, and that she is delighted to have them understand more about the history of suffrage.

Capitelli said he was honored and pleased that he could help remind the community of this achievement.

According to Bickel, the City Council resolution will be followed by a similar honor at the Berkeley Unified School District Board of Education meeting Oct. 12.

Contact Amy Wang at 


SEPTEMBER 27, 2011