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A traveling exhibit celebrating the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment's ratification will make a timely stop at Albany Law School during Women's History Month.
From March 16–31, 2020, the six-banner showcase, "100 Years After the 19th Amendment: Their Legacy, and Our Future," from the American Bar Association (ABA) Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress, will be on display in the East Foyer.
The banners feature photos, artifacts, and the history of the battle for ratification, and outline the challenges that still remain a century later.
"The centennial gives lawyers, judges, state and local bar associations, educators, and civic organizations the opportunity to educate the public about the 19th Amendment and the importance of promoting the full and equal exercise of the right to vote and to participate in our democracy," said Hon. M. Margaret McKeown, chair of the ABA Commission on the 19th Amendment.
Albany Law School's first female graduate, Kate Stoneman, Class of 1898, was heavily involved in the suffrage movement in New York. She is honored annually at the law school.
Stoneman cast her first vote in an 1880 school-board election—school suffrage was granted in New York that year—and watched as the state's women exercised their widespread voting rights for the first time in 1918, while serving as a poll watcher in Albany.
Stoneman—who is also well known for her fight to become the first female lawyer in New York State—"effectively used her influence in that movement to make our profession open to women and more open to people of color," said Albany Law School Professor Mary Lynch, who serves as the Kate Stoneman Chair in Law and Democracy.
Stoneman's efforts to advance women's voting rights can be traced back to the 1870s, when she helped establish the Women's Suffrage Society of Albany, a group focused on the extension of school suffrage to women.
"It has always comforted me that—unlike suffragists like Susan B. Anthony—Kate lived to see women obtain the franchise and to exercise her constitutional right to vote," Professor Lynch said. "I think she would be so pleased to learn that Albany Law is hosting this historically important exhibit. She well knew the fight for fairness and equality is never over."
Albany Law School's Kate Stoneman Awards are presented annually to women demonstrating a commitment to seeking change and expanding opportunities for women in the legal profession. This year's Stoneman Day was postponed; a new date will be announced.
"We are so honored to be able to host the ABA traveling exhibit commemorating 100 years since the ratification of the 19th Amendment," said Albany Law School Professor Melissa Breger, who also organizes the Kate Stoneman honors.