Speaker Pelosi Invites Wentworth Faculty Member to Capitol Reception

May 16, 2019

A portrait of a woman

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. File Photo.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. 12th District, has invited Wentworth’s Allison Lange, assistant professor of history in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, to a May 21 reception at the Capitol to mark the 100th anniversary of the House of Representatives passing the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Passed by Congress on June 4, 1919, and ratified almost 100 years ago on Aug. 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment, “made voting restrictions based on sex illegal, which helped secure women the vote,” says Lange.

She explains that counter to popular assumption, the 19th Amendment did not guarantee all women the right to vote, but only removed the sex restriction from voting. And while that may not seem like a major distinction, says Lange, it’s an important one. It explains why many black, Asian, Puerto Rican, and Native American women still could not vote until decades later, she said.

Lange, a leading expert on the suffrage movement and the amendment, has been curating with the help of Wentworth students an exhibition titled, “Can She Do It? Massachusetts Debates a Woman’s Right to Vote” at the Massachusetts Historical Society. Videos created by Wentworth students are on display there through September 21.

Lange is also writing a book on the amendment that is scheduled for release by the University of Chicago Press in time for the 2020 anniversary of the amendment’s ratification.

A major contributor to a TIME magazine article on the suffrage movement in August 2018, Lange has been awarded funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities for her work.  

--Dennis Nealon

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