A century ago, in June 1913, Illinois women won the right to vote, and Evanston organizations are planning to celebrate the event next month with a suffrage rally and other events.

Illinois was the first state east of the Mississippi to let women vote and Evanston women played a major role in the statewide victory. The victory in Illinois propelled the national suffrage movement into its final phase, leading to ratification of the 19th amendment in 1920 that gave all American women voting rights.

The suffrage rally will be held at 5 p.m. on Friday, June 14, at the Frances Willard House, 1730 Chicago Ave.

Live music, historic re-enactments, and speeches by local officials will be featured. Led by the Evanston League of Women Voters, the partners include the City of Evanston, Evanston History Center, Evanston Women’s History Project, Frances Willard Historical Association, Woman’s Club of Evanston, and the YWCA Evanston/North Shore.

Voter Registration will be available and eligible potential voters are encouraged to come and register at the free event.

In addition, on Sunday, June 2, at 4 p,m, Lori Osborne, director of the Evanston Women’s History Project, and Cate Whitcomb, president-elect of the Evanston League of Women Voters, will give a “Views from the Porch” talk at the Frances Willard House.

The presentation will feature the stories of three Evanston women who provided leadership in the local, state and national suffrage movement and will conclude with discussion about current issues of citizenship and women’s rights.

The cost is $5, or $10 with a tour of the Willard House beginning at 3 p.m. Reservations are encouraged as space is limited; please email info@franceswillardhouse.org or call 847-328-7500.

And at 2 p.m. on Saturday June 8, an award-winning HBO film, “Iron Jawed Angels,” starring Anjelica Huston and Hilary Swank, will be shown at the Evanston Public Library. The film tells the story of the national suffrage movement through its final struggles and eventual success in 1920.  A discussion will follow this free event.

More information is available online from the Illinois League of Women Voters website.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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