Butterfield Statement on the 100th Anniversary of the House Passage of the 19th Amendment

May 21, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) issued the following statement on the 100th anniversary of the House passage of the 19th Amendment, which guaranteed women the right to vote.

“One hundred years ago, our nation fulfilled a fundamental promise to the women of this country, guaranteeing their right to vote. As we recognize the historic movement of the suffragettes, we also honor the many women of color who remain our nation’s unsung heroes in the fight for a voice through the right to vote.

“As we celebrate this historic occasion, we celebrate the doors that were opened, and strides made as a result of this passage. We remember North Carolina native Lillian Exum Clement of Buncombe County, North Carolina. Lillian, in October 1920, was the first woman elected to the North Carolina House of Representatives and was the first woman in the state to start a law practice with no male partners.

“We also remember the women who continued the fight for equality and the right to let their voices be heard in the voting booth. We remember pioneering activists like North Carolina’s own Rosanell Eaton. At 21 years of age, after being forced to pass a literacy test and recite the preamble of the Constitution by memory, Rosanell cast her first ballot in 1942 in Franklin County, becoming one of the first African Americans to vote in her county. Rosanell never wavered and dedicated her life to fighting voter suppression.  Her efforts led to over 4,000 North Carolina citizens registering to vote, a movement she steadfastly pursued until her death just last year.

 “While we as a nation have seen great progress, there is still much work to be done in the pursuit of justice and equality at the voting polls, particularly in our communities of color. The right to vote is a solemn right and it is imperative that we protect and honor the cornerstone of our democracy—the right to vote.”