Voting Rights

"The Awakening" illustration of a torch-bearing woman striding across the Western states

Voting Rights Celebration:
19th Amendment to Voter Inclusion in 2020

Join the Marin County Free Library as we celebrate the ongoing struggle for Universal Voting Rights, Voter Inclusion and the Centennial of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, though many remained disenfranchised.

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
(19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution)

Events     |     Learn More


All events are free and open to the public. Everyone is welcome.

Due to COVID-19, some of these events may be cancelled or rescheduled. Please check back for more information.

Voting Rights Speaker Series


Anne T. Kent California Room Map & Special Collections Annex
1600 Los Gamos, Suite 182, San Rafael
Please enter 1600 Los Gamos through Lobby B.
See enlarged map


All programs will be held from 6:30 – 8 pm.
Join us at 6 pm for a reception before each program.

thumbnail image of Annex map

Tuesday, February 25

Votes for U.S. Women: The 72 Year Struggle:  A Presentation by Dr. Patricia Dougherty, OP.
It took 72 years from the first demand for the vote in the 1848 Declaration of Sentiments at Seneca Falls, New York until the 19th amendment was ratified in August 1920. This slide lecture looks at the origins of the suffrage movement in the abolition movement and the experience and activities of women who devoted their energy and lives to the struggle for the vote.  Professor Emerita of History at Dominican University of California, Professor Dougherty has taught European history and women’s history for 35 years.

Monday, March 23

100 Years Strong: Votes for Women & League of Women Voters, 1920-2020. Presented by Sue Ream, League of Women Voters of Marin County.
2020 marks the one hundredth anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment as well as the formation of The League of Women Voters. This presentation provides a history of both of these centennials and is based in part on the book The Women’s Hour by Elaine Weiss.

Wednesday, April 29

Native American Voting Rights and the Citizenship Question:  A Presentation by Dr. Khal Schneider.
Dr. Khal Schneider will discuss voting rights within the context of the Native American experience.  Dr. Schneider is a Sacramento State University assistant professor of history.  He teaches Native American History and writes about Indian policy and politics and California Indian communities and their land in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He is a tribal citizen of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria.

Monday, May 11

Voter Engagement and the Path Ahead in Marin. Presented by Lynda Roberts, Marin Registrar of Voters.
Marin County has one of the highest voter participation rates in California. Marin County Registrar of Voters Lynda Roberts will discuss ongoing voter engagement efforts, Marin’s new voting system, and the California voting process changes ahead.

We would like to thank our partners: League of Women Voters of Marin County, County of Marin Department of Elections/Registrar of Voters, Marin County Library Foundation
and Friends of the Marin County Free Library.

logos of partners

Events at Library Branches

Our library branches will also be hosting special events to celebrate and discuss the 19th Amendment, voting rights and voter inclusion. Please see the Library Calendar for a listing of events.

Learn More

Photo of Elizabeth Thacher Kent
Suffrage Leader Elizabeth Thacher Kent

By Laurie Thompson

2020 marks the centennial of the passage of the 19th Amendment which gave women the right to vote. Elizabeth Thacher Kent stands out among the Suffrage leaders with ties to Marin. Her entrance into the suffrage movement made local and national headlines.

Read more


The 19th Amendment:
A Woman’s Right to Vote

Suffrage Leader Mary Church Terrell

Mary Church Terrell

“…. how can any one who is able to use reason, and who believes in dealing out justice to all God’s creatures, think it is right to withhold from one-half the human race rights and privileges freely accorded to the other half, which is neither more deserving nor more capable of exercising them?”

– Mary Church Terrell, influential African American educator and national activist for civil rights and women’s suffrage

Read the full speech

Further Reading

Timeline of Women’s Suffrage Movement in the U.S. [pdf]

1911 California Women Suffrage Centennial (California Secretary of State)

Between Two Worlds: Black Women and the Fight for Voting Rights (National Park Service)

African American Women and the Nineteenth Amendment (National Park Service)

Black Women & The Suffrage Movement: 1848-1923