SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – On August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment was ratified. One hundred years later, women say they’re still fighting for equal rights.
“It amazes me to look back and know that at one time, all of us could not vote,” Mary Alice Brown, a member of League of Women Voters of Coastal Georgia, shared.
Brown’s great grandmother was a suffragette who was imprisoned during her fight for her rights.
The League of Women Voters of Coastal Georgia hosted a suffrage car parade in Savannah on Saturday to commemorate the 100th anniversary.
“This struggle has been going on for a long time and I’m saddened at how many young women are even unaware that it’s only been 100 years that women have had the right,” Karen Duncan explained.
Duncan’s grandmother was a suffragette who was involved with the League of Women Voters her entire life. She said she was at Saturday’s event to honor her grandmother.
“Women fought for 75 years to get the right to vote, so it’s not just 100 years, it’s more like 175 years,” League of Women Voters of Coastal Georgia President Rebecca Rolfes said.
Rolfes explained the League’s 100th anniversary was also this year.
“When the 19th Amendment passed you had half of the population that had never been to a polling place. They didn’t even know what one looked like. The League of Women Voters was founded when the 19th Amendment was ratified. We are a direct outgrowth of the suffragist movement. The fight for the vote for all people is the fight that we continue to fight.”
All sitting politicians were invited to participate and Savannah Mayor Van Johnson served as Grand Marshal.
“We’re celebrating that we are getting better and that getting better doesn’t happen by chance it happens by intention,” Johnson said. “Rights have to be fought for, they’re not just given to you, they have to be demanded, they have to be fought for and there has to be people that are working toward one purpose, continuously, intentionally, over and over again.”
Tybee Island Mayor Shirley Sessions, Richmond Hill Mayor Russ Carpenter, Pooler Mayor Rebecca Benton, and Savannah City Council members also participated.
Sessions, Tybee Island’s first female mayor, said she was elated to be celebrating the monumental anniversary.
She described her grandmother’s fight for her right to vote and encouraged others to not take their’s for granted: “We’re in a period where we have a chance to make a difference. I mean vote your voice, your voice is your vote.