In honor of Women’s History Month in South Dakota, the South Dakota State Historical Society’s virtual “History Talks” author speaker series will feature historians Lori Ann Lahlum and Molly P. Rozum speaking about the anthology they co-edited, “Equality at the Ballot Box: Votes for Women on the Northern Great Plains.”
This free virtual event will be held Thursday, March 16, at 7 p.m. CDT on Zoom. To register, go to sdhsf.org/events. “History Talks” is a monthly program of the South Dakota Historical Society Press and the South Dakota Historical Society Foundation.
On Dec. 10, 1869, the governor of Wyoming Territory signed the first full woman suffrage bill in the history of the United States. Suffragists in the neighboring territories of Montana and Dakota believed their prospects were similarly bright. Over the next 20 years, however, organizers’ efforts to secure votes for women met only limited success. While suffragists hoped the territories’ respective bids for statehood in 1889 and 1890 would change their fortunes, only Wyoming enshrined voting rights for all in its state constitution.
The fight for full woman suffrage on the Northern Great Plains would take another three decades. In “Equality at the Ballot Box,” editors Lori Ann Lahlum and Molly P. Rozum have compiled a set of original essays that illuminate key aspects of the movement. Here, scholars uncover previously untold stories of the women who traveled immense distances to win over a diverse, often contentious public. Essential for understanding the larger picture of woman suffrage, including the significance of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, school suffrage, and the anti-suffrage movement, this volume reveals the impact this isolated, rural region had on women’s rights nationwide.
The contributors to “Equality at the Ballot Box” build upon classic woman suffrage scholarship and develop new ideas that capture the spirit of suffrage scholarship and develop new ideas that capture the spirit of suffrage on the Northern Great Plains. For the first time, the region’s unique circumstances are considered, including its significant populations of European immigrants and American Indians as well as harsh climates and sprawling landscapes. By turning scholarly attention to this understudied area, Lahlum and Rozum start a long-needed conversation and point to rich avenues for further exploration.
Published by the South Dakota Historical Society Press in 2019, “Equality at the Ballot Box” may be ordered for $34.95, plus shipping and tax, from SDHS Press at sdhspress.com and from the South Dakota Historical Society Foundation at sdhsf.org or at the Heritage Shops in the Cultural Heritage Center or the State Capitol in Pierre. For more information about the South Dakota Historical Society Press and its books, please visit sdhspress.com and follow @sdhspress on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
About the South Dakota State Historical Society
The South Dakota State Historical Society is a division of the Department of Education. The State Historical Society, an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution since 2013, is headquartered at the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre. The center houses the society’s world-class museum, the archives, and the historic preservation, publishing, and administrative/development offices. For questions or memberships, call 605-773-3458 or visit www.history.sd.gov for more information. The society also has an archaeology office in Rapid City; call 605-394-1936 for more information.