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Wintersville Woman’s Club marks 100th anniversary of 19th Amendment

WINTERSVILLE — Marjean Sizemore wore a pin bearing a yellow rose for a reason Wednesday afternoon.

The member of the Wintersville Woman’s Club joined fellow club members in celebrating the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.

Donned in period attire and carrying signs that read “Votes for Women,” seven representatives of the service organization marched along a section of the main thoroughfare through the village, strolling back and forth near Chase Bank to give passers-by a visual reminder of the day’s significance.

“It took 72 years for the women to pass the 19th Amendment to get the women’s vote, and as a woman and as a member of the Wintersville Woman’s Club, we wanted to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment and make the community aware of that,” said Sizemore, who was recently installed as the 62nd president of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs/Ohio Federation of Women’s Clubs for the 2020-22 term. The local club will host a reception in her honor from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the St. Florian Event Center.

“Back in those days, if you wore a red rose, you were against the 19th Amendment, but if you wore a yellow rose, you were for the 19th Amendment,” Sizemore explained.

Tennessee was the final state to vote in favor of women’s rights to vote, thus making it possible for the 19th Amendment to pass, according to Sizemore.

“The gentleman who cast the deciding vote in Tennessee had been wearing a red rose. He was persuaded by his mother, however, to change his mind,” she said, referring to young legislator Harry Burns and his response to a letter his mother had written to him.

“It is said he put the letter in his pocket, removed the red rose, put on a yellow one instead and cast his vote in favor of women’s right to vote,” added Sizemore, quipping, “always follow your mom.”

With that, Tennessee would become the 36th state to ratify the amendment and the 19th Amendment became law, ensuring that the right to cast a vote could not be denied based on sex.

Club President Pat Ketzell was among the marchers.

“I feel today is a very important day in the life of every woman,” Ketzell said. “It gives us the right to vote, which is the most important thing in our life right now. We have seven wonderful women with us today from the Wintersville Woman’s Club, and we’re very vocal in our community and in our state, and we’re very pleased to be able to participate in the celebration today for the women’s right to vote with the 19th Amendment.”

Club member Mary Beth Allan, Southeast District president, was on hand with her daughter-in-law, Julie Allan, who was visiting from Ridgeland, S.C.

“We’re excited to be here today, and it’s something wonderful to celebrate,” remarked Julie Allan.

“If you think about, it’s only three generations away that women weren’t allowed to vote, so it’s really important that we keep it in mind and celebrate it,” Julie Allan said.

Marking the anniversary is important, according to Mary Beth Allan.

“They worked hard for us to be able to have the ability to vote,” she said.

Other participants were Judy Ostrowsky, Karen Hill and Ruth Carson.

A show of support was extended by Wintersville Mayor Robert Gale, who explained why it was important to have a presence there.

“I think it’s important to be here to represent this with them, this great day in our history, and what an accomplishment it took for so many years,” he said. “I think historically, if you don’t remember these events, then they get lost and you lose that importance. I think it’s key we keep remembering any type of events like this in the future, and it’s just an honor to be here with these ladies today,” Gale said.

Sizemore said the General Federation of Women’s Clubs and its member clubs are observing the centennial.

“Women have been active voters and active in politics since they were granted the right to vote,” Sizemore noted. “At the present time, there are 26 women in the U.S. Senate and 101 women serving in the U.S. House of Representatives. The first woman elected to Congress was suffragette Jeanette Rankin from Montana.”

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