On Aug. 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment was certified into the U.S. Constitution, giving American women the right to vote. And, 100 years later in 2020, the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission worked with Congress to designate August 2020 as National Women’s Suffrage Month.
That’s all worthy of celebrating, and luckily for Northern Virginians, there are plenty of historic spots in Fairfax County to visit to learn more about the women’s suffrage movement.
“Fairfax County and the National Capital Region’s role in the story of women’s suffrage is deeply moving and one that all residents, and indeed, Americans, should understand,” said Barry Biggar, president & CEO of Visit Fairfax, in a recent press release. “Our partners have put together some compelling exhibits and events to help tell this story, and we encourage one and all to visit and honor this centennial celebration.”
See more details on how to celebrate the centennial across Fairfax County below.
The Lorton arts location is joining in on the nationwide “Forward Into Light” campaign starting today, Wednesday, Aug. 26. In celebration of the centennial, building and landmarks across the U.S. are lighting up in purple and gold, the official suffrage colors. For a complete list of participating locations, click here.
Also at Workhouse Arts Center is the Lucy Burns Museum, which tells the story of the 72 members of the National Women’s Party who were once imprisoned at Lorton Workhouse prison (which is where Workhouse Arts Center now stands) for picketing the White House for the right to vote in 1917. The suffragists’ experience at this site marked an important turning point in the women’s suffrage movement and one that ultimately helped secure voting rights for all women in the U.S.
The Lucy Burns Museum is open for tours on Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m., and the museum is currently offering a Lucy Burns Treasure Hunt for kids, designed by a local South County High School student.
Workhouse Arts Center visitors can also explore the Muse Gallery, which is showing a variety of mixed media artworks by award-winning artist Julia Dzikiewicz related to the women’s suffrage movement. The show is available virtually too, but for those who want to see the artwork in person, the gallery is open Friday through Sunday, from noon to 5 p.m. // 9518 Workhouse Way, Lorton
Currently under construction on the grounds of Occoquan Regional Park, the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial will be the first national memorial in America dedicated to telling the story of the women who fought for more than seven decades to win the right to vote.
The Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association will also be hosting a live webinar on Women’s Equality Day (today, Aug. 26, from 8 to 10 p.m.) to discuss the past, present and future of women’s equality. Special guests include Carly Fiorina, Elisabeth Griffith and the honorable Victoria A. Lipnic.
Prior to the event, several videos have been unveiled focusing on the suffrage centennial, the progress of the memorial site and the journey of obtaining a section of the historic White House fence that will be displayed on the memorial’s grounds. Learn more about the project at suffragistmemorial.org. // 9751 Ox Road, Lorton
In the city of Fairfax, Northern Virginians can head to the Fairfax Museum and Visitor Center to see the traveling exhibit We Demand: Women’s Suffrage in Virginia, on loan from The Library of Virginia through Thursday, Sept. 7. A pop-up exhibit from the National Archives will follow, detailing the national story of the movement. Also in September, several history talks will be held to discuss the various topics related to the movement. Visit fairfaxva.gov for more. // 10209 Main St., Fairfax
For up-to-date information and event details, visit fxva.com/herstory.
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