Western Heritage Center highlights women's history during free online lecture

BILLINGS, Mont. - Every third Thursday of the month the Western Heritage Center holds its in-depth historical High Noon Lecture series.

This month they will host a free online High Noon lecture entitled “And Yet They Persisted: Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment and Equality in America,” with Mary Jane Bradbury on Thursday, Sept. 16, from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm.

After years of protesting and fighting for the right to vote on August 18, 1920, the 19th amendment was ratified, giving women voting rights.

The amendment now states, "the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex."

Although the ratification was 100 years ago, Western Heritage Center’s Community Historian Lauren Hunley says it still plays a big part in today’s society.

“You know, everything that’s happened before relates to how we work and what we do today. Understanding that I was able to vote in the last election because of the work these women put forward," says Hunley.

Even though Montana granted women the right to vote in 1914, Hunley says the state has many ties to the suffrage movement and leaders.

“The very first people to ever protest in front of the White House were the silent sentinels, Hazel, Billings Native is right there with them. These women dealt with riots, they had hunger strikes, they were arrested without due cause and right in the thick of that are Montana women."

She says Montana women wanted to make sure all their sisters had the right to vote. Hunley says understanding women’s history and what was happening during the women’s suffrage movement provides a better perspective of where we come from as a nation.

“You know men were fighting in a war, they were battling for democracy on the European front, and their sisters and their mothers and their aunts are battling for democracy on the American front. So there’s a lot of lessons that we can learn, it can give us some ideas and helps us understand how we can deal with things that are very relevant to us today.”

Mary Jane Bradbury, a historian, will be bringing the women’s suffrage movement to life during the center’s newest high noon lecture. Hunley hopes those attending the free online virtual lecture will have a better knowledge of what the women really went through.

“Sometimes in school, our history books have a really great photo, a caption and one paragraph. That doesn’t really help us understand exactly what was happening.”

You can watch the High Noon Lecture on the Western Heritage Center Facebook page at Noon on Thursday. If you can’t catch it live, the recording will be saved on their page.

To visit the Western Heritage Center's Facebook page, click here.

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