Discussion commemorates 19th Amendment’s centennial

Louisiana Tech is celebrating Women’s History Month with a commemorative lecture by Dr. Pamela Tyler titled, “Votes for Women: The Louisiana Story in Black and White.” 

Tyler, who is the author of “Silk Stockings and Ballot Boxes: Women and Politics in New Orleans, 1920-1963,” will speak at the event at 4 p.m. March 31 via Zoom. 

Elaine Thompson, an associate professor of history, said this commemorative event was supposed to occur in 2020 but had to be postponed due to COVID-19. 

“Due to the pandemic, we were unable to commemorate the centennial of the ratification of the 19th amendment in 2020,” Thompson said. “I invited Pamela Tyler, a retired professor of history from University of Southern Mississippi because she is the premier historian of women’s suffrage in Louisiana. Her book ‘Silk Stockings and Ballot Boxes’ is the premier work in the field.” 

Thompson said this talk would focus on the way the 19th Amendment affected black and white women in Louisiana so participants will get a fuller picture of its ratification within the state. 

“This is a fascinating era in American history,” Thompson said. “It’s hard for us to fathom these days, but in 1920 only white men could vote for the most part; despite the 15th Amendment, disenfranchisement laws passed in the 1890s meant that very few black men could vote, and even many poor, illiterate white men were excluded as well.  All women, regardless of race were excluded too.  Probably three-fourths or more of the adult American population were excluded from voting.  The 19th Amendment guaranteed the vote for women — at least for those who could get past the literacy clause and similar exclusionary laws —  and this should be commemorated.”  

The event is free and open to the public, but individuals need to register  at https://tinyurl.com/3adbp7rm. After registering, individuals will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. 

“The history department commemorates Women’s History Month and Black History Month every year,” Thompson said. “We welcome the participation of the public and hope to return to in-person events next year.  In the meantime, we hope folks will join us online this year.” 

This event is hosted by Tech’s department of history, Phi Alpha Theta and the School of History and Social Sciences.