Women's Equality Day takes place on Sunday, August 26, marking the 98th anniversary of women attaining voting rights. Kelton House Museum and Garden marks the day with "Mother, Are You Strong-Minded and Do You Wear Pants? The Life of Elizabeth Greer Coit." This event celebrates the life of Elizabeth Greer Coit, a Columbus woman who was dedicated to achieving the right to vote for women.
Part of the Kelton House lecture series Broken Promises & Deferred Dreams: Civil War to Civil Rights, Leslie Blankenship presents this program. What was life like for women during the first 144 years of U.S. history? Despite the promise of the founding documents, American law denied married women many rights guaranteed to all men. This included property ownership, child custody, the right to keep their earned wages, and the right to testify in court. Their status under the law remained subordinate to their husbands. And, they were kept from many educational and career opportunities .
Then, women who fought back against these restraints and for their rights found themselves criticized harshly. The title of this presentation comes from a question that Coit's daughter, Belle, asked her one day, after hearing that criticism of her mother. Indeed, Coit's strong-mindedness spurred her efforts to found the first women's suffrage association in Columbus in 1884. While she did not live to see women achieve voting rights, she inspired her daughter, who later married into the Kelton family, and many other Ohio women in their fight. In fact,the Ohio Role of Honor suffrage plaque in the Ohio Statehouse includes both Elizabeth and Belle's names.
Part of the Discovery District, Kelton House offers outstanding programming all year long. So, check them out for their Victorian Teas, Trails of Hope historical reenactments and holiday events.