FLEMINGTON, NJ - Two marquee Flemington events planned for March, Women’s History Month, will provide attendees with insights and historical information on the 100th-year anniversary in 2020 of the Women’s Suffrage Movement in the U.S. that resulted in the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, permitting women to vote.

First, on March 14 beginning at 1:30 p.m. in the Historic Hunterdon County Courthouse, on Main Street in Flemington, Rutgers University Research Professor Emerita of History Dr. Ann Gordon will present “Memory and the Suffragists of New Jersey.”

During the Board of Chosen Freeholders’ meeting Feb. 18, freeholder John Lanza previewed the event that will commemorate the many contributions of women to politics in the county, state and nation. As he requested that evening, at the freeholder board’s next meeting March 3, a resolution up for approval will officially represent Hunterdon County’s commemoration of the centennial of the 19th Amendment.

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“The 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, granting American women the right to vote, is a momentous occasion,” he said. “In recognizing that landmark event as freeholder liaison to the Hunterdon County Cultural & Heritage Commission, I announce the commission’s sponsoring a presentation by Professor Ann Gordon, and all the public is invited to attend. Professor Gordon is a nationally renowned scholar, lecturer and published author on the Women’s Suffrage Movement, and we are fortunate to host her as a guest lecturer. It is a timely and important event, and Hunterdon is proud to recognize this historic accomplishment with our program. I am sure we will learn from Dr. Gordon how New Jersey women and many suffragists help bring the amendment to fruition.”

Lanza explained that while the 19th Amendment was federally ratified in August 1920, it was first approved in New Jersey on Feb. 9, 1920.

“Both Houses of New Jersey legislature at the time of the amendment were held by Republican majorities, and, in Tennessee, it was on the verge of becoming the necessary 36th U.S. state to ratify the amendment,” Lanza said. “The deciding vote breaking the deadlock in Tennessee was cast by 23-year-old State Representative Harry T. Burn, who was also a Republican. Those facts can help break some stereotypes of the party.”  

The free event March 14 is presented by the Hunterdon County Cultural & Heritage Commission. Walk-ins are welcome, but reservations are requested by emailing cultural@co.hunterdon.nj.us.

Freeholder Lanza also requested that the event be video-recorded for those who cannot make it in-person to view.

On March 19, Flemington-born author and noted historian Brian Armstrong will return home to present “The Women’s Suffrage Movement and Hunterdon County Women Who Made Political History.” The event, organized by Flemington-based 501c3 nonprofit Hunterdon County Tricentennial, Hunterdon 300th and its founder, former county freeholder Marcia A. Karrow, will be held at 7 p.m. March 19 at the Hunterdon County Library, on Route 12 in Flemington.

Refreshments will follow the free presentation. Reserve tickets online or by contacting the Hunterdon 300th via email at 300info@co.hunterdon.nj.us or phone at 908-788-2030.

Armstrong grew up in Readington Township, and graduated from Hunterdon Central Regional High School in the class of 1977. He earned his bachelors degree at American University.
On March 19, he will customize the presentation to include prominent women in U.S. political history from the Flemington area and Hunterdon County.

“I start at the beginning of the Women’s Suffrage Movement in the 1800’s and document up to 1919 and 1920, and the passing of the 19th Amendment, explaining the process it took to get to that point,” he said. “We take an engaging overview of history with many pictures, including propaganda for and against granting women voting rights. I’ll have profiles of various women political leaders that have come from that initial passing of that legislation, including senators, congresswomen and governors, and then I will speak specifically about New Jersey’s female politicians, including former Gov. Christine Todd Whitman (who grew up on a farm in Oldwick, Hunterdon County) and former freeholder Marcia Karrow (who hails from Flemington).”
The event will include a timeline of events from the movement’s origin in the abolitionist movement.

Armstrong’s March 19 presentation will include profiles of several key figures in the Suffragist Movement, from Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Ida Wells and women’s rights activist Alice Paul, whose accomplishments and place in history has been in the spotlight recently.

In mid-February the New Jersey State Senate considered a bill that would move to erect a statue of Paul in the U.S. Capitol’s National Statuary Hall Collection in Washington, D.C. and replace a statue of Brigadier General Philip Kearny, Jr. (namesake of Kearny, New Jersey, a town in Hudson County). In 1888, 26 years after Kearny’s death, the State of New Jersey gave the statue of Kearny by artist Henry Kirke Brown to the National Statuary Hall Collection.

In 1885, suffragette Alice Paul was born in the same town Armstrong currently resides in, Mt. Laurel Township in Burlington County.

“She’s an important figure from New Jersey, and her home in Mt. Laurel is one of the nation’s key sites with this centennial,” Armstrong said in an interview.