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May 8, 2019

Inspiring Activism with Indiana Humanities

Suffrage 2

Brighter Futures Indiana loves collaborating with local organizations serving Hoosiers big and small! This post was written by Indiana Humanities, a statewide nonprofit which connects people, opens minds and enriches lives by creating and facilitating programs that encourage Hoosiers to think, read and talk. As a convener, leader and partner, Indiana Humanities promotes the public humanities and engages Indiana’s community of minds to create stronger, more vibrant communities. Learn more at


Women’s rights activist and reformer from Peru, Indiana Marie Stuart Edwards and her three-year-old son, Richard Arthur Edwards. Click here to learn more about Edward’s contributions to women’s suffrage. Photo courtesy of the Indiana State Library.

Teaching Children to Carry Women’s Legacy Forward

The Indiana Women’s Suffrage Centennial celebrates the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote in 2020. The effort is led by Indiana Humanities, the Indianapolis Propylaeum, the Indiana Historical Society, the Indiana Historical Bureau. And many other grassroots and local partners.

Hoosiers are invited to honor the ideas and ideals that fueled the suffrage movement in Indiana. And the people who led the way. There’s so much families can learn from the women’s suffrage movement. Join in conversations about inclusion, equity, perseverance and power. And consider what we can do now to ensure that our democracy truly includes everyone.

Though the history of women’s political efforts is complex, little learners can join in these lessons too! Here are a few ways you can use women’s suffrage to explore the humanities while having fun too!


Little Feminist book set

Little Feminist Board Book Set
by Emily Kleinman & Lydia Ortiz
Best for: babies

Babies will love story time with these colorful portraits of real women. The Board Book Set includes four mini board books: Pioneers, Artists, Leaders and Activists.

This Little Trailblazer book cover

This Little Trailblazer: A Girl Power Primer
by Joan Holub

Best for: ages 3-5

Even the youngest readers can learn about great female trailblazers in history! Parents and little ones alike will love this girl power primer with ten memorable women leaders.

Around America to Win the Vote book cover

Around America to Win the Vote: Two Suffragists, A Kitten, and 10,000 Miles
by Mara Rockcliff

Best for: ages 5-8

In April 1916, Nell Richardson and Alice Burke set out from New York City on a great adventure! In a little yellow car, they traveled with a teeny typewriter, a tiny sewing machine and a wee black kitten. But also, a very important message for Americans: Votes for Women!

Girls for the Vote book cover

Girls for the Vote
by Linda Newbery

Best for: ages 6-9

When thirteen-year-old Polly befriends two suffragettes, she finds herself questioning the views of those around her. The Votes for Women campaign strikes a chord with Polly, so she becomes determined to join the suffragettes’ protest march. Even if it means clashing with her family.

What Is the Women's Right Movement? book cover

What Is the Women’s Rights Movement?
by Deborah Hopkinson

Best for: ages 8-12

From Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Gloria Steinem and Hillary Clinton, women throughout U.S. history have fought for equality. Celebrate how far women have come with this inspiring read!


Take your little one with you when you go vote.

There’s no better way to show the value of voting to little learners than to lead by example. So, next time you vote in a local or national election, take your little one along with you! Talk about what it means to be involved in how the choices that those in charge are making. Optional: Take a photo together and share it on social media using #kidstothepolls

Hold an in-home election.

Give the empty box of tissues a new life! Create a ballot and show kids how their vote counts when it comes to making everyday decisions. What’s for dinner? What movie should we watch? What game will we play? Next, discuss how adults get to vote for the policies that the government makes. Lastly, explain how some groups of people had to fight for their right to make their voice be heard.

Have a sash- and sign-making party.

Sashes were worn for rallies and parades by supporters of woman suffrage. Make a “Votes for Women” sash or a sign with your child using paper, markers, glue and other craft supplies. After you make the sash and signs, talk about what it means to be an activist. Then, have your own suffrage parade in your home!


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For additional resources and ways to get involved, visit: Resources include a downloadable program, teacher toolkits and a brief history and timeline of women’s suffrage in Indiana. You can also add your suffrage-related event to the statewide calendar.

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