August 26th 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment being officially added to the US Constitution. The amendment removed sex as a reason to deny voting rights. In commemoration of this anniversary and in recognition of the ongoing struggle for voting rights, the Oregon Women’s History Consortium will be chalking on August 26th, 2020, at three historically significant sites in the Oregon women’s suffrage campaign: The former site of the B.F. Smith Lime Warehouse (northeast corner of SW Third and Taylor), the former site of Taylor Street ME Church (southeast corner of SW Third and Taylor), and First Congregational Church (northeast corner of SW Park and Madison). Below is some background on the historical significance of these sites.
B.F. Smith Lime Warehouse
On November 8, 1872, four women attempted to cast ballots at this location, even though it was illegal for them to vote. The women suffragists were one Black suffragist Mary L. Beatty (noted as “colored in news accounts of the time), and three white suffragists: Abigail Scott Duniway, Maria Hendee, and Mary Ann Lambert.
Their voting place was the Morrison Precinct, which was located in the offices of the warehouse.
Their action was part of a national strategy called the “New Departure” that claimed women born in the U.S. were citizens and therefore should be eligible to vote.
The four women, and many other suffragists would go on to found the Oregon State Woman Suffrage Association in February, 1873.
Taylor Street Church
In July of 1912, women suffragists chalked advertisements for a suffrage lecture on the sidewalks around this church. Their goal was to “catch the eyes of early crowds on the way to work,” and draw a larger audience to the meeting.
First Congregational Church
In June of 1905, Portland hosted the 37th annual National American Woman Suffrage Association Conference at this church. Abigail Scott Duniway was joined by Susan B. Anthony and hundreds of suffragists from across the country who attended the week-long convention, the focus of which was the importance of women becoming full citizens by gaining the franchise, or, the vote.