The Women’s Vote Centennial Colorado’s commemoration of the 19th Amendment hit the road this month with its “Road to the Vote” traveling artifacts tour across Colorado.

In 1893, Colorado was the first state to outlaw, via state referendum, denying citizens the right to vote based on their sex. This took place more than 25 years before the national women’s suffrage act was signed into law on Aug. 26, 1920. The trailblazing collaborative fight for women’s voting rights changed the course of history in Colorado and continues to inspire social, economic, political and cultural advancements today.

According to History Colorado, Lake County had a minority for women’s suffrage in 1893, with only 43% of voters supporting the issue, but that was an improvement over the 72% against in 1877. Carrie Chapman Catt, a national suffrage leader, spoke at the Presbyterian Church in Leadville a few weeks before the election.

The “Road to the Vote” tour was created to move history (literally!) across Colorado, while educating residents and organizations about the anniversary of the largest voting-rights expansion in U.S. history. Three outreach opportunities will be featured throughout the tour.

One is a pop-up, traveling artifacts exhibit featuring an original ballot box from the 1884 Colorado elections and a reproduction ballot from the 1893 Colorado elections. The exhibit will be featured at the Healy House Museum and Dexter’s Cabin from Feb. 18 to Feb. 28.

The second is a “call to action” for interested organizations to collaborate together and create space for civic engagement, commemoration, impact and support. Visit COWomensCentennial.org for more information.

Lastly, History Colorado will provide a “listening and learning tour” for regional organizations to help lead events and meetings. Jillian Allison, director of the Center for Colorado Women’s History, will travel the state to help local Women’s Vote Centennial programming and activities.

The Women’s Vote Centennial comprises the nation’s most comprehensive statewide effort to examine the importance of voting in our democracy. History Colorado, the state agency leading the initiative, created opportunities for Coloradans to participate and join grassroots efforts to learn about the complex history of the women’s suffrage — and, how Colorado transformed history for the entire country.

“We are thrilled to launch our tour across Colorado’s landscape, reaching the iconic places that helped create history – and the people who continue to shape history,” said Allison. “More than ever, it’s important to understand Colorado’s early role in the national movement for the women’s vote, while stimulating new participation, action and conversation.”

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