With election season already in full swing, it’s important to be reminded of the efforts to make possible a privilege of what 50.8% of this country’s population wasn’t always guaranteed, a woman’s right to vote. Several generations of women, lectured, wrote, marched, lobbied, and even practiced civil disobedience to achieve what many Americans considered a radical change of the Constitution. The milestone they helped to birth, the 19th amendment, guarantees all American women the right to vote. The victory took decades of agitation and protest and sadly, few early supporters lived to see the final victory in 1920.
UA Rich Mountain will be hosting Dr. Angela Boswell, Professor of History and Dean of the Ellis College of Arts and Sciences at Henderson State University to share with both students and the community. Earning her Ph.D. from Rice University, Boswell has published numerous articles and reviews, mainly about Southern women’s roles in history. She has edited a couple of volumes on the history of Southern women, a subject, she says, that’s still relatively untapped. “I’m not interested in the famous women,” she says. “I have difficulty naming the most important ones. I’m much more interested in what regular human beings are doing, whether men or women. That were THEY experiencing in everyday life? The South is different from the rest of the country,” she explains. “Southern women had a very different experience from New England women. Because of slavery, Southern women were much less likely to challenge the prevailing social mores. While Northern women’s rights were moving forward, Southern women were still staying at home.”
“History is a balancing act for historians,” Boswell says. “You cannot be absolutely 100% certain it’s true because you’re not there. And from the moment something happens, it is constantly being revised because our understanding and interpretation changes. We’re still living in the result of history and, therefore, it never passes away.”
The speaking engagement will be held in the Ouachita Center on the Mena Campus of UA Rich Mountain, Monday, November 18 at 10 a.m. The event is free and open to anyone wanting to learn more about this fascinating time in history.