Suffragists

from Kentucky

Elizabeth “Lizzie” B. Cooke Fouse
Elizabeth “Lizzie” B. Cooke Fouse

(May 14, 1875- October 22, 1952)

4th President of Kentucky Association of Colored Women, correspondant for NAACP, temperance and suffrage activist – founder of Lexington’s Phillis Wheatley YWCA
Frances Jewell McVey
Frances Jewell McVey

(1889-1945)

Frances Jewell McVey, who as a young woman participated in Fayette County Equal Rights Association activities – including the production of a suffrage play; photo from the University of Kentucky’s Portrait Print Collection
Kate Meriwether Barker
Kate Meriwether Barker
After many years of lobbying by the Kentucky Equal Rights Association, women at the State University in Lexington finally got access to campus housing in 1904. Patterson Hall was built for this purpose and was the first of the University’s buildings to be constructed off of the main campus existing at that time. Kate Meriwether Barker (wife of the university’s president at the time) served as theDean of Women and lived in the dormitory when the Philosophian Literary Society organized an Equal Rights Association in March 1915. Mrs. Louis Becker came from the Louisville Woman Suffrage Association to support the students in their creation of the group. Marie Louise Michot of Louisville (photo is from 1916 University yearbook) was elected president of the UK ERA; Julia Van Arsdale, vice-president; and, Jacqueline Hall, secretary.
Dr. Mary E. Britton
Dr. Mary E. Britton

(1855-1925)

Dr. Mary E. Britton was the first woman in Lexington to be granted a license to practice medicine 1902, suffragist, orator and educator; photo from Wikipedia attributed to the Hutchins Library, Berea College
"Some quote from someone"
Mary Barr Clay
Mary Barr Clay

(1839-1924)

Mary Barr Clay was the first Kentucky woman to speak publicly about women’s rights, founder of the first suffrage clubs south of the Mason-Dixon line and was the first Southerner elected president of a national suffrage association.
Laura Clay
Laura Clay
Besides Madeline McDowell Breckinridge, Laura Clay – living in the Hart house on the corner of Mill and Second (now a parking lot) – was our most visible champion of women’s rights here in Lexington. During the violence and growing segregationism of the Jim Crow era, she presented complex and well-reasoned arguments that pulled together white women activists in the South to focus on women’s suffrage efforts. As early as 1910 she was convinced by many legal scholars, including her contemporary Henry St. George Tucker at Yale, that a more concentrated effort for State Suffrage Amendments in all the remaining states without women’s suffrage rights was most appropriate. In her debate against M McD Breckinridge before the Woman’s Club of Central Kentucky on October 18th, 1919 (which she won), she posited: “…a Federal Amendment is not necessary for the speedy success of woman suffrage, and that at best the Anthony amendment does not make women the political peers of men.” Looking at the current representation rates based on gender alone, we might today still see the power of her argument.
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