November 08, 2019
On November 5, 1919, Maine voted to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment, ensuring that the right to vote could not be denied on the basis of a person’s sex. In celebration of the 100th anniversary of this event, the UNE Women’s and Gender Studies program and the League of Women Voters of the Portland Area invite Ann Luther to the UNE campus to speak.
Luther serves as treasurer for the League of Women Voters of Maine and had previously served as both president and co-president of the organization. She was the 2013 recipient of the Baldwin Award from the ACLU of Maine for her work on voting rights and elections.
In her talk, titled “The Struggle for Women’s Suffrage: Revisiting Our History, Redirecting Our Future,” Luther discussed the work of many women and men who labored to ensure the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in the United States. Her comments reflected on the various strategies used by numerous national and local organizations to reach ratification, the conflicts that arose among these various groups and the lessons that can be learned from their work.
"Ann Luther's presentation was both moving and motivating,” commented Julie Longua Peterson, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology and director of the Women's and Gender Studies program. “In particular, I was struck by Ann's ability to paint a portrait of the suffrage movement, its successes and struggles, and to call the audience to action as we continue to secure voting rights for people who remain or become marginalized by current systems, policies and practices."
Luther also discussed the significant compromises that were made along the way to reach ratification and the work that remains undone as of today.
"I respected the fact that Ann Luther spoke of the role that racism played in the history of this movement and noted that we have work to do in order to fix the barriers that were understandably put in place because of it," stated Lynn Brandsma, adjunct professor and UNE's first lady.
The presentation was followed by a robust conversation with audience members.
Patricia Long, clinical professor of psychology and an affiliate faculty member of the Women’s and Gender Studies program, noted, “It was an amazing experience to collaborate with members of the Portland area League of Women Voters to bring Ann to UNE and to hear about the tireless work of so many individuals to ensure voting rights for women. We look forward to additional collaborations with the League.”