100 Years of Women’s Suffrage in Illinois
100 years ago this week, Governor Edward F. Dunne signed a bill giving women in Illinois the right to vote for President. This hour on Focus, we remember Illinois’ push for women’s suffrage.
In 1870, Frances Willard proclaimed before the Illinois General Assembly that it was an “insult” that 21 year old boys could vote to make laws for their mothers but that the mothers themselves had no voice. More than three decades later, she, among several others, finally convinced enough lawmakers that was true. In 1913, Illinois gave women the right to vote in Presidential elections. The catch – the bill for women’s suffrage did not apply to gubernatorial elections or elections for state representatives, congressmen or senators, yet.
This hour on Focus, we’ll remember the men and women who pushed for women’s suffrage in Illinois, and those who pushed back. Mark Sorensen, who has written extensively about suffrage in the state, joins us. He’ll tell us about some of the key players who fought for the bill and how the state worked to dissuade female voters from exercising their new right to vote. We’ll also talk Professor Virginia Boynton of Western Illinois University about why it took so long for women to be granted the right to vote in the first place.
Before she started writing her new book “Pretty Good for Girl: Women in Bluegrass” Murphy Henry thought she was one of only a few women trying to make bluegrass music. But as she found out, there are lots of women who have had successful careers, they just hadn’t gotten any attention for it. This hour on Focus, guest host Chris Berube talks with Murphy about the history of women in bluegrass, why these musicians have slipped under the radar and why, before now, there’s been so little conversation about their contributions to the genre. We’ll also talk with Murphy about her own musical career, her love for playing the banjo and the “Murphy Method,”a technique she pioneered to teach banjo.
We also talk with her about Champaign-Urbana native Alison Krauss and her career and contributions to bluegrass music.
Read more for a video of Murphy playing the banjo and explaning why she wrote the book.
Uncle Joe Cannon served in the U.S. House of Representatives as speaker from 1903 to 1911 and is considered the second longest serving Republican speaker in history. He was featured on the first cover of Time Magazine and is remembered as one of the more colorful members of Congress.
This hour on Focus, we’ll remember Joe, his Illinois roots, and some of his more notorious moments as speaker in Washington D.C. Host Jim Meadows talks with Matt Wasniewski, a historian for the House of Representatives and Timothy Smith, an amateur historian and long-time Danville resident who is working on a biography about Joe.