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Bustable Women

9 Mar

The Hall of Famous Missourians has been in the news recently, igniting debate over who should be honored in our state capitol. Here at Missouri Women, we like to imagine a fantasy Hall of Famous Missourians. One that would include a few more women. Like these ladies:

Virginia Minor

Women can vote today because of women like Virginia Minor. She sued the St. Louis voting registrar for her right to vote as a United States citizen in 1872.

Maya Angelou

Poet, novelist, inspiration. She has changed the way we see ourselves.

Edna Gellhorn

She canvassed Missouri to get support for voting rights and taught countless women how to vote.

Fannie Hurst

Her book The Imitation of Life continues to challenge how we navigate race relations today.

Kate Chopin

Her book book The Awakening became a feminist classic.

Carrie Nation

She to smashed up bars with a hatchet. Her radical activism brought national attention to the issue of alcohol abuse at the turn of the 20th century.

Celia

Slave girl Celia killed her owner after suffering five years of repeated rapes. Her inspiring stand against abuse cost her her life.

Adeline Couzins

This nurse picked up the pieces after Civil War battles and was the first woman to receive a pension from the US government for it.

I’ll be talking about the seven women who are currently in the Hall on our women’s history tour of the Capitol next Sunday the 18th at 1:30pm. I hope you can join me.

Who do you think we should honor in our state capitol?

Virginia Minor

23 Feb
Every woman who votes has Virginia Minor to thank for it. She launched the Woman Suffrage Association of Missouri in 1867, and five years later became a part of a nation-wide throwdown about women’s rights. She first attempted to register to vote and when denied, her husband sued the St. Louis register of voters on her behalf (did you think women could file a lawsuit? Nope). Based on rights outlined in the 14th Amendment, she claimed it was illegal to deny her the right to vote because she was a native-born, free, white citizen of the United States & the State of Missouri over the age of 21. The case was first heard at the Old Courthouse in St. Louis, and eventually went all the way to the US Supreme Court, who ruled that suffrage was not coextensive with citizenship. Although she lost the lawsuit, she was still really tough for trying to shake things up.

Her grave is in Bellefontaine Cemetery in Block 51, Lot 1623. And while you’re there, don’t forget to stomp on the grave of Smith Gant, just across the road in block 33, lot 2824, who represented the voting commissioner in Ms. Minor’s Lawsuit.
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