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Library and LWV partner to bring suffragist performer to Great Bend
Carrie Lane Chapman Catt
Carrie Lane Chapman Catt

As women here in Great Bend gear up to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, the Great Bend League of Women Voters have lined up special programs featuring notable suffragists who devoted their lives to the fight.  Saturday afternoon, Donna Becker, a first-person historical performer, will portray Carrie Chapman Catt, who served as the president of the National American Women’s Suffrage Association at a pivotal time in the history of suffrage.  

The 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution guaranteed women the right to vote. The fight for suffrage began in 1848 and was finally achieved in 1920 when Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify. Two women, with different methods but the same goal, won over the Tennessee legislature by one vote. One of these notable women is Carrie Chapman Catt. The other was Alice Paul who will be visiting later in August. 

Mrs. Catt was a protégé of Susan B. Anthony. Catt led the women’s rights movement for more than 25 years. An assertive and intelligent woman, she became a skilled organizer and leader who developed a broad vision to secure suffrage through a constitutional amendment. Mrs. Catt worked tirelessly, training women for direct political action and enlisting seasoned campaigners, building support at both the federal and state levels. After the victory in Tennessee, she initiated the reorganization of the NAWSA into the League of Women Voters (LWV), whose work for progressive legislation continues to the present day. 

Becker  will portray Catt on Sat., Feb. 15,at 2 p.m. at the Great Bend Pubic Library. The hour long performance includes a question and answer period and refreshments will be served. Becker is a certified historical first-person performer with Historical Echoes of Lindsborg. A grant from the Midwest Energy Community Grant Fund makes this performance possible. Members of the League of Women Voters of Great Bend and staff from the Great Bend Public Library collaborated to bring this historical performance to town. 

Local league president, Rebecca Dudrey, agrees with Carrie Catt’s belief that the struggle for women’s suffrage is every woman’s struggle and “there will never be a true democracy until every responsible and law-abiding adult in it, without regard to race, sex, color or creed has his or her own inalienable and unpurchaseable voice in it.”

For more information contact Janice Walker, LWVK Centennial Celebration Committee member and member of the League of Women Voters of Great Bend at: 620-617-4568, or Rebecca Dudrey at: 620-617-2586.