Photo by Cheryl Landes
In August 2020, 100 years after women permanently won the right to vote in the U.S., the Washington State Histoical Society hosted a video series called the Suffrage Special Whistle Stop Tour. The videos are based on the real-life “Suffrage Special” train that carried Washington State and national suffragists across the nation in support of women’s voting rights.
The series starts in Spokane and follows the women through Washington State on the way to the National Suffrage Convention in Seattle in 1909. Each time the train stopped, more suffragists boarded.
The videos examines Washington State’s connection to the country’s overall history of the suffrage movement and honors Washington women who paved the way as well as those who continue to advocate for women’s rights. Recordings of the videos are now available on the Washington State Historical Society’s website.
There are eight videos, which make stops in Spokane, the Tri-Cities and Walla Walla, Yakima and Ellensburg, Vancouver, Bellingham, Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia.
The convention was intentionally held at the same time as the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition (AYPE) in Seattle, which attracted visitors worldwide. The dual events increased awareness and visibility of the women’s fight for the vote.
Washington women already had the permanent right to vote before this tour. It came in 1910, 10 years before the 19th amendment in the U.S. Constitution was enacted, which gave every women in the country the right to vote.
Watch the series at The Suffrage Special Whitle Stop Tour page. Viewing is free.