Laura Clay, 1849-1941

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A Simple Justice; Kentucky Women Fight for the vote - Melanie Beals Goan

In 2020, Americans marked the centennial anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment. How was that milestone, which prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex, achieved? And what did it leave undone? Melanie Beals Goan will discuss the impact of the Amendment as well as Kentucky's role in its ratification. Meet leaders like Laura Clay and Madeline McDowell Breckinridge, as well as less familiar movement participants who worked in communities across the state to make votes for women possible, and learn how a shared goal of enfranchising women could not conquer the forces that divided women, including race, region, and religion. The story of Kentucky suffrage is ultimately a story of creative approaches, competing priorities, and in some cases, severed relationships. It is a story that deserves to be told as we remember what it took to get women the vote and as we acknowledge the forces that continue to undermine equality.

Melanie Beals Goan is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Kentucky. She is originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, but she has lived in Kentucky since 1994. She earned a B. A. in history from Slippery Rock University and a M. A. and Ph. D. from the University of Kentucky. Her research interests and teaching focus include twentieth century U. S. history, Kentucky history, gender, and the history of health care. In 2008, she published Mary Breckinridge: The Frontier Nursing Service and Rural Health in Appalachia (University of North Carolina Press). University Press of Kentucky published her newest book, A Simple Justice: Kentucky Women and the Suffrage Movement in 2020.

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