When Mary Perkins cast her ballot on July 29, 1913 it was the first time a woman voted in Champaign County. On June 26, 1913, Governor Edward Dunne had signed the suffrage bill into law, giving women the right to vote for President as well as local officers. While the issue for Perkins was whether Champaign City should bond for a new fire truck, the mere fact of voting was a profound breakthrough for the rights of all local women.
Did you know that Illinois was the first state east of the Mississippi to allow women the right to vote for President?
Or that it was also the first state to ratify the 19th amendment, doing so on June 10, 1919? With Tennessee's ratification on August 20, 1920, the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote in all elections was added to the U.S. Constitution.
So many women, who lived their lives in Champaign County and whose names are familiar to us, were involved in the struggle for suffrage right here in our backyard. And many more toiled for women's rights throughout the two and a half centuries since our nation's beginnings.