Local History of Women’s Suffrage Activism

Written by Luca, a San José Peace and Justice Center intern

UPDATE: The speaker event featured in this post with Dr. Aptheker on March 11 has been POSTPONED. Please contact kate.steffens@sjsu.edu with any questions.

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library recently opened their “100 Years of Women’s Suffrage in the South Bay” exhibit, which connects the South Bay’s historic involvement and action in the Women’s Suffrage Movement to the present day. Open until December 15, the exhibit features archived material displaying the efforts and struggles of local activists in the Women’s Suffrage Movement. By documenting the actions of local organizations such as Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – San José, the exhibit is helping shed light on Suffragist activism in San José, which sadly is largely overlooked.

With the exhibit, the King Library will be hosting Bettina Aptheker as a speaker on March 11. Dr. Aptheker, the UC Presidential Chair of Feminist Studies, has been engaged in progressive movements since the 1960s. She’s also written several books on the history of the Women’s Suffrage Movement. Her talk will center around how the Women’s Suffrage Movement is connected to other issues, like settler colonialism, racism, and white supremacy. Following her talk, there will be a Q&A session and a guided tour of the exhibit. 

White woman smiling, text on image reflected in the post text.
The talk with Dr. Bettina Aptheker has been postponed until further notice.

Both the exhibit and Dr. Aptheker’s talk are important to understanding the unique history of the South Bay’s Women’s Suffrage Movement. Not only do they help tie the past actions and struggles of Suffragist activism into the present day, making it extremely relevant, but they also help tie the Suffrage Movement into a multitude of other important issues like racism, and the effects of settler colonialism.

For more information on location and time of both the exhibit and Bettina Aptheker’s talk, check out the event page and flyer: https://library.sjsu.edu/events/100-years-womens-suffrage

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