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SC Women in Leadership Announces 19th Amendment Commemoration Events



SC Women in Leadership announced they will host an array of events commemorating the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote are being held throughout South Carolina this month. Events include lighting up many public buildings and landmarks in purple and gold, the official suffrage colors.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster is also issuing a proclamation in honor of the 100th anniversary.

“Multiple groups are hosting events in August to celebrate the important anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which guaranteed women the right to vote,” said Barbara Rackes, a Columbia businesswoman and a founder of SC Women in Leadership, a group that encourages women to become leaders at the local, state, and national level. “In these uncertain times, we can find inspiration in the persevering women of the suffrage movement.”

One of the major events for the celebration will be the illumination of many public buildings and landmarks on August 26th, which marks the 100th anniversary of the formal adoption of the 19th Amendment into the U.S. Constitution.

“We hope to see hundreds of buildings and landmarks lit up throughout South Carolina on this date, and thousands more throughout the country,” Rackes said.  “We’re encouraging people to post photos on social media with the hashtag #lightscpurple and #forwardintolight to expand our virtual recognition of women gaining the right to vote.”

Illuminating the buildings and landmarks is part of the national campaign “Forward into Light,” named in honor of the historic suffrage slogan “Forward through the Darkness, Forward into Light.”  Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin has invited mayors across South Carolina to join Columbia in lighting their city halls purple and gold. The SC Governor’s Mansion, the Koger Center, USC Aiken, Benedict College, the Columbia Museum of Art, and Furman University are among the other entities that have committed to illuminate their buildings in purple and gold on August 26th. It is especially notable that the Eulalie Chafee Salley home on USC-Aiken’s campus will be lighted. Ms. Salley flew in one of South Carolina’s first airplanes to toss suffrage pamphlets from the air.

Other events commemorating the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage include:
  • An exhibit at the SC State Museum, through at least September 2020, called “A Voice of Her Own:  South Carolina Women in Politics”
    • The exhibit features objects, images, and stories showing the ways South Carolina women engaged with the political history of our state. To increase the reach of the exhibit during COVID-19, video vignettes of the exhibit are also posted online here
  • Wear purple and gold on August 26th as a personal statement and ask your friends, family, and colleagues to do the same
    • Post your picture tagging @SCWomenLead or send the picture to and SC Women in Leadership will add it to their gallery.
  • A slide show about the 19th Amendment, produced by SC Women in Leadership and posted online here
  • SheDidDay, an online event challenging women to share their accomplishments and contributions to the local community — large and small
    • The virtual event, to be held August 26th from 10 am to 11 am, is hosted by Columbia City of Women, Historic Columbia, and the Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network (WREN)
    • Click here for more info
As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the certification of the 19th Amendment as an important milestone in the women’s rights movement, it is also important to recognize that it did not guarantee access to the ballot for women of color. Although we have made strides over the past 100 years, there are steps that can still be taken today to remove barriers and reach disenfranchised voters.
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