A century ago women in this nation won their decades long fight for suffrage.
Rarely acknowledged for their integral part in the struggle for the vote, a feisty contingent of Pittsburgh women used their intelligence, wits and endurance to mount a fierce campaign against forces that employed all their might to deny them the vote.
Over and over again in Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh rose to the challenges, like a bright, glittering stars in the suffrage movement. Of particular note, the legislators of our Commonwealth were won over to the suffragists’ cause in no small measure due to the Pittsburgh Plan.
Yes the Pittsburgh Plan.
It was a brilliant strategy conceived by Pittsburgh’s own Jennie Bradley Roessing, and implemented with the help of western PA suffragists and their active network across the Commonwealth. Their impact was felt across the nation.
Please take a moment to consider the era they lived in. Some were wealthy, some of modest means; part of the group was educated, others were barely literate; they were a diverse bunch, white and black women; Christian and Jewish women. These women hadn’t been raised to be:
- leaders speaking in front of hundreds of strangers
- fund raisers calling on wealthy, potential donors to ask for donations
- activists meeting with legislators, senators and governors
- strategists and communicators engaging and maintaining momentum among thousands, across Pennsylvania, without the benefit of today’s communication tools
But they did it.
Yes, at times their knees quaked under their spindly skirts. Yes, sometimes their voices sometimes quavered.
But they did it.
These pages are a starting point, we hope that you will explore more about Pittsburgh’s remarkable suffragists throughout this year.