National Votes for Women Trail Historic Marker Unveiling

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National Votes for Women Trail Historic Marker Unveiling on March 24


March 23, 2023 - In celebration of Women's History Month, join representatives from the National Collaboration for Women's History Sites for the official unveiling of the St. Petersburg National Votes for Women Trail historic marker on Friday, March 24, at 11:30 a.m. on the southeast corner of Central Avenue and 6th Street. Speakers include Nancy Hewitt, Professor Emerita at Rutgers University, and Judith Wellman, Professor Emerita at the State University of New York. City Council Vice Chair Deborah Figgs-Sanders will present a proclamation on behalf of Mayor Kenneth T. Welch.

Speakers will address the event commemorated by the marker, the women's suffrage movement in St. Petersburg in the early 20th century, and the ongoing efforts to ensure that all Americans are included in the democratic process. William Straub, who owned the St. Petersburg Times and served as its editor, was a supporter of Women's Suffrage. Some of Straub's living relatives will be present at the event.

The National Votes for Women Trail was created by the National Collaborative for Women's History Sites (NCWHS) to commemorate the millions of women across the United States who fought for women's suffrage from the 1840s to the 1910s. It consists of individual markers in over 200 cities and towns in 48 states as well as a digital database of those markers. https://ncwhs.org/votes-for-women-trail/

ABOUT THE SPEAKERS & ORGANIZERS
Dr. Judith Wellman is Professor Emerita at the State University of New York at Oswego, where she taught American women's history. She has served as a consultant to the Seneca Falls Woman's Rights National Historical Park since its opening in 1982 and has written the definitive book on the famous convention held there in 1848 entitled The Road to Seneca Falls: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the First Woman's Rights Convention.  She now directs Historical New York Research Associates, which has documented numerous historic sites across central and western New York State, including underground railroad sites and places related to African American, American Indian and women's history.  She also served as Director of the National Votes for Women's Trail for the National Collaborative on Women's History sites.

Dr. Nancy Hewitt is Professor Emerita at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. She taught American history and women's history and worked with Dr. Wellman at the Seneca Falls Woman's Rights Park in Summer, 1982. She has written on women's community-based activism in Rochester, New York and Tampa, Florida.  Her book on Tampa, entitled Southern Discomfort: Anglo, Black and Latin Women's Activism in Tampa, Florida, 1880s to 1920s included a chapter on the battle for voting rights in the early twentieth center. She worked with Kilian O'Donnell, the State Director of the National Votes for Women Trail, on researching suffrage sites across Florida.

Killian O'Donnell is the Florida State Director of the National Votes for Women's Trail. She has exhaustively researched sites across Florida and secured the markers to commemorate them. Killian was instrumental in securing the St. Pete marker and has been the driving force behind the event to officially unveil and celebrate the marker and the history. Killian has provided valuable research to the St. Pete History Museum for their upcoming exhibit, "The Meddling Women of St. Petersburg."

William Straub (deceased): One of William L. Straub's (owner and editor of the St. Petersburg Times) most enduring contributions was his successful campaigns to claim St. Petersburg's waterfront for public ownership and to separate the Pinellas peninsula from Hillsborough County; however, he was also a woman suffrage advocate. On April 18, 1919, he submitted a letter to the St. Petersburg Charter Board to include woman suffrage in the new charter, and he advocated for woman suffrage in his newspaper.  In his letter to the St. Petersburg Charter Board, Straub stated, "Why should not the women of St. Petersburg be empowered to vote upon all St. Petersburg affairs? Who has done more." WILLIAM STRAUB'S LEGACY FOR ST. PETERSBURG - Orlando Sentinel Orlando Sentinel, Mar 29, 1992, William Straub's Legacy for St. Petersburg